FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys are placing the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence for the second straight year.
Tuesday is the NFL’s official deadline for teams to use the franchise tag, but it’s also a placeholder to continue negotiating a contract extension with the Pro Bowl pass rusher. July 15 is the deadline to reach a long-term deal with a franchised player before the start of the season.
Lawrence played last season on a one-year franchise tag worth a guaranteed $17.1 million. The league’s franchise tag figure for defensive ends is approximately $20.5 million, according to reports.
Contract extension talks continued during last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis with the Cowboys making a formal offer to Lawrence’s camp. Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said Tuesday he’s “very confident” that both sides will eventually reach an agreement, though he wouldn’t place a timeline on a deal.
“Obviously, D-Law is a priority,” Jones said last Tuesday. “He played under the franchise tag and did it in a very respectful way and played his butt off. I do think he’s first up.”
Lawrence, the Cowboys’ second-round pick in 2014, has played two straight full seasons and made two straight Pro Bowls since undergoing back surgery after the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He has tallied 25 total sacks in that span.
Lawrence has yet to have surgery for an old labrum injury he aggravated last October against the Texans when his shoulder briefly popped out of place. He appeared in all 18 games, including playoffs, and finished with 10.5 sacks.
Lawrence has said repeatedly he wants to be a Cowboy for a long time.
“I got big goals not just for me but for us as a team and as an organization,” he told reporters at the Pro Bowl in January. “So I feel freely to tell the organization, I love being a Cowboy. And I love playing hard.”