FRISCO, Texas – DeMarcus Lawrence made a decision a long time ago that he wanted to be "a Cowboy for life."
That's why reworking his contract this offseason was a "no-brainer."
Lawrence signed a new three-year, $40 million deal featuring $30 million in guarantees just before the start of free agency, ending speculation that the Cowboys might part ways with the two-time Pro Bowler over salary cap concerns.
"I had high hopes that we would figure something out. It's all in being able to negotiate and both parties really getting what both deserves out of the deal," he said.
Lawrence originally had two years left on the five-year, $105 million contract he signed in 2019. The reworked deal means Lawrence, 29, is under contract through 2024. And it gives the Cowboys some wiggle room under the salary cap, dropping his 2022 cap figure from $27 million to $14 million.
"If we're not building and putting strong players around us, we're not going to be able to get better. So I feel like that's one of the reasons I restructured, but also being able to finish where I started and also have another opportunity to go for a Super Bowl," he said. "I don't want to do it nowhere else. I made that decision a long time ago and I'm glad I'm still here."
Lawrence has been a cornerstone on defense since joining the Cowboys as a second-round draft pick in 2014. In 103 regular-season games, he has posted 308 total tackles and 48.5 sacks as a well-rounded edge player, productive against the run and as a pass rusher.
Last season Lawrence missed 10 of the first 11 games with a foot fracture, but his return in December bolstered a formidable pass-rushing group led by Randy Gregory and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. In addition to playing his normal left defensive end spot, Lawrence had an impact moving inside on certain downs in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's scheme.
The pass rush will look a little different next season. Last week, Gregory signed a five-year deal with the Denver Broncos after he first appeared set to return to Dallas.
"It was a shock to me," Lawrence said. "I heard the news just like everybody else. … But Randy's a brother for life. I wish nothing but the best for him."
The Cowboys have adjusted, re-signing Dorance Armstrong to a two-year deal and adding veteran Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency.
As a long-time leader on defense, Lawrence's return is significant. He's looking forward to a healthy offseason after recovering from back surgery last spring and then dealing with the foot injury for much of the regular season.
"I feel like we can build on the foundation that we made last year," he said. "I feel like we've got a bunch of great young guys in the room that are good players, they listen well, they respect the game. And we've got some good vets in the room that know how to play and respect the game and also want to get better and better."