FRISCO, Texas (105.3 The Fan) DeMarcus Lawrence and the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a five-year, $105 million contract extension with $65 million guaranteed, according to league sources.
The star defensive end known as “Tank” had expressed both optimism about the negotiating process, though he was saddled with the franchise tag for 2019.
“They know where I want to be,” Lawrence said. “I got big goals, not just for me but us as a team and as an organization. I love being a Cowboy.”
Lawrence played under a franchise tag in 2018 that paid him $17.1 million. There was a sort of understanding that Dallas wouldn’t leave him hanging that way again, and through some tumultuous negotiations that threatened to do just that, feathers were ruffled. One key: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones referred to Lawrence as if he would be a “depreciating” asset should the player choose to continue to delay his shoulder surgery while using that delay as a negotiating tool.
But now? The 26-year-old, who last year delivered a second straight double-digit sack season and a Pro Bowl effort, can move onto the surgery, which figures to carry with it a three- to four-month recovery period, and be fully ready to terrorize QBs again in 2019.
Dallas selected Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft after trading up, personnel boss Will McClay pushing for the move by pounding the table and labeling Lawrence “a QB hunter.” It was the start of a process and a policy of “draft ’em, develop ’em and pay ’em” that has worked with a trio of star Cowboys offensive lineman … and now carries over to the D-line as well. Lawrence registered 14.5 sacks in 2017 and 10.5 this past season while playing through injury.
In 2019, he’ll play left end, and newly acquired Robert Quinn will line up at right end, giving Dallas bookends of credentialed standouts along the line.
DALLAS — DeMarcus Lawrence has the long-term contract he felt he deserved after the star defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys played one season under the franchise tag.
Lawrence and the Cowboys have agreed on a $105 million, five-year contract with $65 million guaranteed, two people with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Friday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
The sides had until July 15 to work out a long-term contract after the club used the franchise tag on its best pass rusher again. A year ago, Lawrence signed the $17.1 million offer right away. This time he didn’t, and had been putting off shoulder surgery while negotiations dragged.
The talks heated up quickly this week, not long after executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said at the NFL owners meetings that Lawrence and his representatives were at an impasse. They didn’t get close to a long-term deal last year.
Lawrence tweeted soon after news of the agreement broke , saying “New Number Who Dis?” Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier was a little more specific with his congratulations for one of the leaders of the Dallas defense, writing “SOMEBODY CALL THE BRINKS TRUCK.”
Getting an agreement before the draft means Lawrence can participate in offseason activities, pending shoulder surgery. There was a strong likelihood that Lawrence, who turns 27 late this month, would have stayed away from the team without a contract.
The total value of the contract trails only Chicago’s Khalil Mack ($141 million) and Von Miller of Denver ($114 million) among edge rushers. Both are three-time All-Pros. While Lawrence has been to the past two Pro Bowls, he’s still looking for his first All-Pro nod.
Lawrence earned $17.1 million under the tag last season after finishing tied for second in the NFL with 14½ sacks in 2017. He had another double-digit season with 10½ last year, and is considered one of the better run defenders among pass rushers.
The deal comes about a week after Dallas acquired defensive end Robert Quinn in a trade with Miami. Quinn figures to start opposite Lawrence unless Randy Gregory is reinstated from his fourth substance-abuse suspension.
Lawrence was the first defensive end the Cowboys drafted, trading up to early in the second round in 2014 not long after releasing franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware.
The former Boise State player’s career started slowly, with eight of the nine sacks from his first three seasons coming in his second year. He battled injuries early in his career, and was suspended four games to start the 2016 season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancers.
The healthiest season of Lawrence’s career was his best, when he had 10½ sacks in the first seven games. He has 34 sacks in 64 games in his career.
Consider DeMarcus Lawrence paid.
The stud pass-rusher reportedly agreed to a five-year, $105 million contract with the Cowboys on Friday, including $65 million in guarantees, as per The MMQB.
Lawrence had been franchise tagged by Dallas for a second straight season and had until July 15 to work out a deal. The sides had been at an impasse on a long-term deal until this week. That may have been due to the player delaying surgery on a torn labrum he played through last season until he had a new deal.
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Less than a week after signing the monster contract he longed for, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will undergo surgery to finally fix a torn labrum he’s played through the past two years.
On Friday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told Mike Fisher of 247 Sports that Lawrence has scheduled surgery for Wednesday. According to the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr., who also reported that surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, Lawrence is expected to need 3-4 months to recover. The Cowboys’ official team website wrote that the recovery is likely to take a minimum of three months.
That’s all good news for the Cowboys. If they hadn’t reached a contract agreement with Lawrence so early in the offseason, they might have been faced with the possibility of beginning the upcoming season without their best pass rusher. And after losing defensive end Randy Gregory to yet another suspension, the Cowboys couldn’t afford to be without Lawrence, even though the recent trade for Robert Quinn would’ve helped soften the blow. Now, with Lawrence under contract and on track to be ready for the beginning of the season, the Cowboys will be able to pair Quinn with Lawrence.
Despite having a torn labrum, Lawrence has racked up 25 sacks the last two seasons after totaling only nine sacks through his first three seasons. He’s the best player on a talented defense that finished last season ranked in the top 10 in points allowed, yards allowed, and DVOA. Most of that defense will be back and they’ve also added Quinn, who has 69 career sacks and 15 over the past two seasons. The Cowboys have also remained hopeful that Gregory, who recently signed an extension, will be able to play during the upcoming season.
It’s worth wondering if Lawrence’s level of play will improve (a scary thought) once he’s fully healthy. It’s also worth wondering how he would’ve handled the injury if contract negotiations with the Cowboys had stalled.
His shoulder injury is likely one significant reason why the team felt compelled to address his contract sooner rather than later a year after he played under the franchise tag. They couldn’t afford to be without Lawrence when the season begins (and beyond). At some point, they were going to need to pay him. With good reason, they just did it a bit earlier than anyone really expected.