Cowboys free agents: Ernie Sims

The Cowboys called on Ernie Sims after losing Sean Lee for the season. Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

Ernie Sims

Position: Linebacker

Type: Unrestricted

Summary: When the Cowboys lost Sean Lee for the season to a toe injury, they called on Sims even though he did not have any experience in the 3-4. In 10 games (six starts), he was credited with 42 tackles, a sack, two pressures and three pass deflections. He battled through a concussion that limited him late in the season, but he shored up a spot that was depleted as the season went on.

Why keep him: The move to the 4-3 might actually help Sims' chances to return. While Lee will be the starter at middle linebacker, Sims could be a viable backup option. He does not turn 29 until Dec. 23.

Why let him go: As well as he played with no preparation time, it must be pointed out that he was out of football for a reason last October. He has ability, but he's not part of a future foundation.

Best guess: He will test the market to see if his 10-game audition in 2012 did enough to warrant interest from other teams. Sims could be part of a fall-back plan at a low cost for the Cowboys.

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