FRISCO, Texas – Technically, July 15 -- not early April -- would have been Deadline Day for DeMarcus Lawrence's $105 million new contract.
But simple math -- a minimum four-month recovery timetable for the Pro Bowl pass rusher’s looming shoulder surgery -- likely accelerated negotiations between the Cowboys and Lawrence’s camp last week.
Lawrence just received the largest contract in team history: $21 million per year over five years, including $65 million guaranteed. With the deal done, he confirmed at Tuesday’s press conference that he will indeed have surgery Wednesday.
“I’ll definitely be ready for the start of the season,” he said. “I ain’t worrying about that. It’s just getting it done and over with.”
In October, Lawrence told reporters he aggravated an old labrum injury against the Texans. His shoulder briefly popped out of place when he hit Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, but he was able to finish the game.
He appeared in all 18 games last season, including the Cowboys’ playoff matchups against the Rams and Seahawks.
The Cowboys’ yet-to-be-announced season opener typically falls five months from now in early September. There’s no question Lawrence’s impending surgery added a layer of complexity to the contract talks.
“It played into it,” Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said. “Obviously we were aware of it and knew that we were getting to a point where we needed to make it happen. And I think DeMarcus was afraid of that too. I mean, he loves to play that game. I think having that looming out there was probably important for both of us to really push and make the push we did there at the end to get it done.”
The Cowboys’ voluntary offseason program begins next week. Training camp should open in late July, as usual. Lawrence will probably spend all of that time getting healthy.
The plan, Jones said, is “work to get him ready for the start of the season.”
“We’ve got one of the best in the business in (associate athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation) Britt Brown,” Jones said. “He’ll be spending a lot of time with Britt and hopefully get him ready to go and be ready for the opener.”