On Monday, Lee and the Cowboys agreed to a reworked deal in which he can earn an extra $2 million in 2016, according to sources. Lee will earn $125,000 in per-game roster bonuses after he fell just short of an escalator last season because of a hamstring injury that kept him from the final game.
Had Lee played in 80 percent of the snaps last season he would have earned a $5 million base salary.
The Cowboys also turned $2 million of Lee's $3 million base salary into signing bonus for cap purposes, which will bump his cap figure to $6.2 million this season, a $250,000 increase over what it had been.
Lee pulled himself from the season finale despite the money that was on the line in a meaningless game, and the Cowboys rewarded their defensive captain by giving him the chance to earn more.
If Lee plays in 80 percent of the snaps this season, his base salary in 2017 would jump from $7 million to $9 million.
Lee has been battling a sore left knee that kept him out of full practices this week. He will not play in Thursday's preseason finale vs. the Houston Texans but he will be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener against the New York Giants.
Lee had an MRI on Monday after complaining of some soreness after the Cowboys played the Seattle Seahawks last week. Coach Jason Garrett said the results were positive and he did not believe it was a long-term issue.
Lee had arthroscopic surgery in the offseason that kept him out of the organized team activities and minicamp. Lee missed the 2014 season with a torn left ACL, and the scope was deemed a cleanup. He was held out of a couple of training camp practices in Oxnard, California, as well, which is something Garrett did for a number of veterans.
Garrett said it was "premature" to say the Cowboys will have to manage Lee through practice once the regular-season starts.
Lee is coming off his best season in which he was added to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement after the coaches credited him with 156 tackles. He has yet to play in a full season in his career.