With Deadline Passed, D-Law To Play 2018 On Tag

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FRISCO, Texas – Another franchise tag deadline has passed, though this one was far less dramatic than others in the Cowboys' history.

When the clock struck 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon, the deadline for the team to negotiate a long-term deal with DeMarcus Lawrence officially ended. It is now impossible for the Cowboys to reach an extension with their star pass rusher until after the 2018 season.

Strictly speaking, this qualifies as news because the deadline is officially up. Realistically, though, the writing has been on the wall that no deal was coming for quite some time.

The Cowboys placed the tag on Lawrence all the way back in March, coming off the strength of his 14.5-sack season in 2017. Unlike many other players, who hold off signing the tag until the July deadline, Lawrence signed his right away.

In fact, throughout the last four months, there has been remarkably little drama between Lawrence and the front office. That's a stark contrast from 2015, when Dez Bryant famously refrained from all offseason activities, right up until signing a five-year extension just hours before the deadline.

Asked about it earlier this spring, Lawrence said he felt no pressure about playing on the franchise tag, which will guarantee him a payday of $17.5 million for this upcoming season.

"It really doesn't matter," he said. "If I do my thing, I put up my stats and I help my team win, they ain't got no choice but to sign me. That's how I feel."

With the deadline passed, it'll now be on Lawrence to replicate last year's success. Ideally, he'll play well enough to earn that long-term deal in 2019. Reports are already circulating that he has no intention of playing on a second tag next year.

That's a problem for the future, though. For the time being, the two sides couldn't negotiate a new deal if they wanted to. And judging by his comments throughout the offseason, Lawrence is just fine betting on himself.

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