FRISCO, Texas – The standoff is over.
One week after sitting at an “impasse” with DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys clearly made some progress, as Friday saw them agree to terms on a five-year extension with their All-Pro pass rusher.
The deal hasn’t been signed as of yet, but the contract figures to pay Lawrence a total of $105 million over the five years, with a reported guarantee of $65 million. Those numbers would make Lawrence the third-highest paid edge rusher in the NFL, trailing only Khalil Mack and Von Miller.
Fittingly, the deal will pay him an average of $21 million per year – which is just a bit more than he would have made playing on the franchise tag this season.
The news brings an end to the biggest storyline surrounding the Cowboys this offseason. The club placed the franchise tag on Lawrence back on March 5, and the past month has been a furious back-and-forth about when the two sides might agree to a deal – or if they would at all.
To recap: 2019 had been the second-straight year that the Cowboys had used the franchise tag on Lawrence. In 2018, coming off a 14.5-sack season, the Pro Bowler had agreed to play on the tag in an effort to maximize his value.
Lawrence tallied 10.5 sacks on the franchise tag, and he also helped the Cowboys to finish with a top 10 defense en route to a playoff appearance. While doing so, he made it perfectly clear that he had no intention of playing on the tag a second time.
Everyone knows the impact DeMarcus Lawrence made in 2017 and 2018. How will his contract negotiations impact the Cowboys in the long-term future?
Complicating this entire process has been the matter of Lawrence’s shoulder, which currently requires surgery. He tore his labrum two years ago and has been battling with it ever since, revealing last October that the issue would need surgery at the end of the season.
However, Lawrence has delayed having surgery to this point in the offseason, presumably in an effort to increase his leverage in these contract negotiations. With a deal in place, the Cowboys will assuredly want to get their Pro Bowler into surgery as soon as possible, as the recovery time is expected to be several months.
Re-signing Lawrence is obviously a huge boost to the Dallas pass rush – but for more than just the obvious reasons. The Cowboys traded a sixth-round draft pick to Miami for Robert Quinn last week. At the time, there was speculation that the team was insuring itself against a Lawrence holdout, but now it’s evident the Cowboys will be employing Pro Bowlers on both sides of their defensive line in 2019.
Lawrence unquestionably returns as one of the leaders of this defense for the foreseeable future. In addition to his Pro Bowl level of play, Lawrence established himself as a presence in the Cowboys’ locker room by setting the tone for a pass rush that billed itself as the “Hot Boyz.”
Now, all the primary components of that pass rush are back – in addition to Quinn, who has 69 career sacks to his name.
After a brief impasse, it sounds like all systems are go for D-Law and the Dallas defense.