The Dallas Cowboys will utilize their franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys hope to eventually sign him to a long-term deal.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will reportedly be franchise tagged… but not for long. The Cowboys will use the tag as a safety net. The intentions of this move are to hopefully secure a long-term deal out of their star pass rusher.
Lawrence had a standout 2017 season in which he accumulated14.5 sacks and 52 quarterback pressures. With production like that, the Cowboys will obviously like to keep Lawrence for the foreseeable future. Although franchise tags can get a bad rep, in instances such as Lawrence’s, it’s only intended for protection.
“To me, the only reason you use a franchise tag is to hopefully protect yourself if you can’t get a long-term deal signed that you like,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the Senior Bowl last month, via the Morning News. “That’s normally the route we like to go. Certainly we’re going to roll up our sleeves and see if we can do something with DeMarcus without having a franchise tag.”
The Cowboys still would have until July 16 to negotiate a long-term deal even if they apply the franchise tag to Lawrence.
The one-year franchise tag will pay Lawrence $17.5 million for one year, but both sides should want to accomplish signing a long-term contract. With Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott in tow, the Cowboys need cornerstones on defense, too. If Lawrence is tagged, he should be satisfied whenever the final contract is presented to him.
Dallas is only projected to have $19.1 million in cap space, so it will be motivated to sign a deal before the new league year on March 14. If it can’t, the tag for Lawrence would effectively hamstring any other efforts to upgrade until the draft. Considering how many holes the defense has, the Cowboys shouldn’t feel comfortable with that notion.