Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence To Play Out 2018 Under Franchise Tag, Enter Free Agency In 2019

By Paul John Rivera
on Jul 17, 2018 11:18 PM EDT
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Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence failed to get long-term security for his career, but he might have plenty of options after next season.

Lawrence and the Cowboys let the deadline for signing franchised players pass quietly on Monday. The decision means Lawrence will have to play under the franchise tag in the 2018 NFL season, but he could get the deal that he wants elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent next year.

Breakout Season Not Enough To Give Lawrence A New Contract

Lawrence is coming off the best season his four-year NFL career. The former Boise State standout had career-high records of 14.5 sacks and 58 tackles for the Cowboys last season.

However, his breakout season was not enough to convince Dallas to sign him to a long-term contract. According to ESPN, the 26-year-old defender will earn $17.14 million next season under the franchise tag. His salary next season will be almost three times of the $5.3 million he earned in his first four years with Dallas.

While there were no direct mentions from Cowboys officials, it was speculated that Dallas opted to roll the dice with the franchise tag because Lawrence was limited by injuries and suspensions earlier in his career. Dallas has the option to put the franchise tag on him again in 2019 for around $20 million depending on how he will perform this year.

Lack Of Long-Term Security Could Motivate Lawrence

Playing on a one-year franchise tag comes with a lot of risks because an injury next season might turn the table around completely. However, Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford, who played with Lawrence at Boise State, believes not getting a new contract will just motivate the Pro Bowl defender more to prove his worth.

"DeMarcus is a different breed, different type of person," Crawford said. "He's not really worried about what he needs to show everybody."

Lawrence seemed to have accepted his fate earlier this year after he signed the franchise tag. He told the Star-Telegram that he is not worried about his contract situation, pointing out that Dallas will have no other choice but to give him a lucrative deal if he performs well in the upcoming season.

"I might not play the game just the way everybody else play their game, but I know if I keep putting in that work and do what I need to do on the field, they're going to sign me," Lawrence said. "So I'm not really worried about it."

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