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Mailbag: How To Avoid The Tag With Tank Again?

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With a comparable season to last year would the front office be able to argue for the contract Demarcus Lawrence wanted last offseason or is that no longer going to fly with some of the contracts recently given out by other teams? - ROBERT LECLERC / PRINCE GEORGE, BC

Bryan: Just my thought, but this contract is going to likely fall somewhere between Khalil Mack and Von Miller. Lawrence is going to push for the higher end like Mack, while the club shoots for a number closer to Miller. Again, I haven’t been told one way or another so this is my opinion only.

Rob: Timely question, Robert, since this is the first day teams can use the franchise tag on a player. The Cowboys have the option to use the tag by March 5 to maintain exclusive negotiating rights with Lawrence into the summer, but obviously (and understandably) he wants long-term security and the Cowboys have said re-signing him is a huge priority. There’s no question Khalil Mack’s deal in Chicago set a new bar for top pass rushers, but how that affects talks with Lawrence remains to be seen. Regarding last year, he and the Cowboys didn’t really have extensive negotiations and ultimately he agreed to play on the franchise tag.

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So if my math is correct, isn’t Jaylon Smith’s rookie contract up after this upcoming season? If so, I haven’t heard a thing on if they plan on extending him or not. I know they have a lot of players with contracts up next season. Your thoughts? - KYLE WALTER

Bryan: Jaylon Smith is a restricted free agent in 2020. They have some time here.

Rob: Bryan’s correct. Smith is not unrestricted after 2019 because he didn’t get an accrued season as a rookie in 2016 while recovering from injury. That means in 2020 the Cowboys would have the right to match any offer sheet from another team or get draft compensation.

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