FRISCO, Texas – If the franchise tag is supposed to be a bad thing, someone forgot to tell DeMarcus Lawrence.
It's been two months since the Cowboys tagged their premier pass rusher, assuring him a $17 million pay day to play the 2018 season. To hear it from Lawrence, he hasn't thought about it much since.
"I really don't care about that," he said Wednesday. "When the situation happened, I discussed it and I feel like it's over with now. I'm playing, so why does it matter?"
That attitude might sound like common sense, but it hasn't always been the case when it comes to these types of discussions.
Throughout the tag's 25-year history, it's been viewed as a bit of a stigma. NFL clubs typically use the franchise tag because they aren't convinced they want to dole out a long-term deal.
The hefty, guaranteed salary is a nice windfall, but most players would prefer some long-term security – of which the franchise tag offers little.
When the Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant in 2015, it led to several months of discord. The All-Pro receiver, coming off the best season of his career, held himself out of offseason activities and vowed not to play on the tag. The standoff was eventually settled at the 11th hour, when the front office inked Bryant to a five-year, $70 million deal just hours before the deadline to do so.
Lawrence's situation feels like exactly the opposite. Not only does the 26-year-old plan to play on the tag, but he sounds happy to do so. His logic, however uncommon it might be, makes plenty of season.
"I mean, it really doesn't matter," he said. "If I do my thing – I put up my stats and I help my team win, they ain't got no choice but to sign me. That's how I feel."
It's a good point. If Lawrence hits double-digit sacks again in 2018, after posting 14.5 in 2017, paying him will be a problem the Cowboys are happy to have on their hands.