Let’s be realistic, there was almost no chance the Dallas Cowboys were going to let their star defensive end hit the open market. With Demarcus Lawrence franchise tagged today, that much has been assured. In a season where available pass rushers are few and far between, he would have been the most sought after at his position by far. The 25-year-old is just getting started, and the franchise wants to be the long-term beneficiary of his future production.
Demarcus Lawrence Franchise Tagged By Cowboys
The second-rounder out of Boise State timed his breakout season perfectly, and what a breakout it was. Lawrence was a no-brainer for the Pro Bowl last year with his 14.5 sacks. If that wasn’t enough, he also forced four fumbles and recovered two as well. The Cowboys had been hinting at intentions to use the franchise tag on Lawrence recently. Today, the organization did just that according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.
#Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence was officially franchise tagged, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 5, 2018
Back With A Vengence
In 2016, Lawrence only started in three of his nine games played due to lingering back problems. He bounced back in a big way last season, starting all 16 games and nearly doubling his previous high water mark for sacks. With his situational awareness and ability to reach the quarterback, Demarcus Lawrence is the kind of player Dallas can build their defense around.
The true purpose of the franchise tag is to buy time for negotiations. When teams and valued players are unable to reach an agreement, the team will tag the player as a means to settle on a long-term contract. The tag has also been used simply to delay the inevitable departure of a star player. That does not appear to be the Cowboys’ intentions with Lawrence.
“We’d like to not have that franchise hanging out there. We’ve got a big negotiation ahead of us.”, said executive vice president Stephen Jones
A long-term deal is still in the range of outcomes, the two sides have until July 16th to work it out. If not, the four-year veteran will play his fifth as a one year endeavor and be paid roughly $17 million. For Demarcus Lawrence, that sounds like a win-win situation.
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