FRISCO, Texas – A lot can change in a week, it seems.
Roughly a week ago, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones described the club's contract talks with DeMarcus Lawrence as "an impasse." With Lawrence seeking to become one of the NFL's highest-paid defenders, it wasn't exactly surprising to hear that the negotiations were taking some time.
Perhaps the tenor of those talks has changed, though. Word surfaced Friday that the Cowboys and Lawrence's representation are communicating, as the two sides are exchanging numbers and inching closer to an agreement.
That doesn't mean a deal has been reached. From the sounds of it, there has been no agreement – and therefore Lawrence doesn't have a new deal. But whereas players on the franchise tag typically don't work out contracts until the July deadline, maybe there's reason for optimism the Cowboys can have Lawrence back in the fold soon.
It's been an interesting month since the club placed the tag on Lawrence back on March 5. This is the second consecutive year the Cowboys have used the tag on their Pro Bowl pass rusher. The difference is that this year, Lawrence has made it clear he doesn't intend to play on the tag.
In 2018, Lawrence played on a one-year, $17 million contract and delivered 10.5 sacks for the Cowboys' seventh-ranked defense. If he were to play on the tag this year, he stands to make $20.5 million, but he has avoided the Cowboys' offseason workouts while he works toward a new contract.
Lawrence's injured shoulder is also part of this equation – and might be why the two sides are working toward a deal so long before the July 15 deadline. The All-Pro has a torn labrum and has delayed surgery to this point in the offseason. If the two sides reach an agreement soon, it's a good bet he'll quickly undergo surgery to get the problem fixed in time for the 2019 season.
That likely won't happen until a contract is signed, though. And while that hasn't happened yet, it sounds like the Cowboys are working in that direction.