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Jerry Jones: Sean Lee to regain starting job when ready

The Panthers have lost four in a row after getting off to a strong start and have already made changes to the coaching staff. Does that mean their new owner could fire Ron Rivera as well?

Sean Lee isn’t getting Wally Pipped. Supposedly.

With rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch performing very well in the absence of Lee, who has missed four games and counting with a hamstring injury, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t ready to relegate Lee to the second string.

Jones said during his weekly Tuesday appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that Lee will return to the starting lineup when ready.

Of course, ready is a malleable term. Ready could mean Lee will be back when he’s 100 percent, which could entail a high bar to get to 100 percent.

Then there’s the question of whether Lee, when back in the starting lineup, will stay on the field. A league source who has carefully studied the Dallas defense recently predicted that Lee, when healthy, will get reps only in the base package.

A real question also lingers regarding whether Lee will be on the team in 2019. With a base salary of $7 million and with the Cowboys planning to pay players like Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott, Lee may be the odd man out, especially if he’s no longer one of the best options at the position.