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Mailbag: How Does Martin's Deal Affect D-Law?

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JAMES MCMILLAN

BRANTFORD, ONTARIO

I realize there are big expectations on a first round middle linebacker, but with Jaylon's continued improvement, (both physically and mentally), will Leighton Vander Esch be ready to assume the starting role after one camp?

Bryan:As you have mentioned, Smith has been pretty good at MIKE in these practices, so it might not be a simple switch. My gut feeling is that Vander Esch will likely start as a backup in training camp and if things progress along well then they will get him on the field with the first defense and move Smith to Wilson's spot at SAM -- but this all will only happen if Vander Esch proves he can handle the job. 

David:I view this as a good problem to have. If Vander Esch can't grab the job outright, it means Jaylon is having a heck of an impressive preseason. If Vander Esch pushes Jaylon out to SAM, then you've got three really capable starting linebackers. Either way, I'm good with it. I get that you want your first-round pick to start, but remember the role that injuries have played for these linebackers. Depth is a good thing.

THOMAS JONES

Now that Martin's deal is final, what does it mean for cap space this year and next? Does the size of this deal mean they don't do any work on a contract for D. Law?

Bryan:I don't know the exact amount of cap space for 2019 but I am hearing that it's significant. If Lawrence has another outstanding season they will have the ability to sign him if they choose to do so. It will be a call on how much the front office wants to spend and not a decision based on a lack of space. 

David:It's tough to project definitively, but the Cowboys are looking at something like $60 million in cap space next year. That's more than enough money to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence – or franchise tag him again, if that's what they decide to do.

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