Cowboys, Demarcus Lawrence set to use franchise tag

Dallas Cowboys, NFL Free Agency

The Dallas Cowboys won’t let Demarcus Lawrence hit the open market. With no deal in place yet, he is expected to get slapped with the franchise tag.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Dallas Cowboys aren’t letting defensive end Demarcus Lawrence go anywhere this offseason. The Cowboys have no plans on letting their pass-rushing superstar hit the open market. Though he doesn’t have a long-term deal yet, at worst, he will be slapped with the franchise tag for 2018.

Lawrence was in a contract year with the Cowboys in 2017. After three underwhelming seasons with the Cowboys, Lawrence set the NFC on fire with a dominating 14.5 sack campaign. This earned him Pro Bowl honors and will have him paid handsomely for at least the upcoming 2018 NFL season.

Dallas had drafted Lawrence in the second round out of Boise State in 2014. Before last year, he had just nine quarterback sacks. With 2017 serving as an outlier year for the guy, it’s easy to understand why Dallas is opting to tag him. Obviously, the Cowboys will want to have him part of the team going forward, but it is in their best interest to use the tag this offseason.

Lawrence is the perfect example of how the tag is supposed to work. He had a dominant year and will get paid top-dollar for it a year later. This will allow the Cowboys an extra year to evaluate if he will be part of their team next decade on a multi-year contract.

For the last few years, the Cowboys had struggled to find a pass rush after parting ways with DeMarcus Ware. He would go on to win a Super Bowl with the 2015 Denver Broncos. Ware has since retired. Lawrence’s 2017 season was no joke, and maybe this is a sign of good things to come for the guy.

He seems to be on the same sort of career trajectory of Melvin Ingram of the Los Angeles Chargers. It took about four years in the league before Ingram lived up to the hype coming out of South Carolina. He has since become an elite pass rusher playing next to Joey Bosa in Los Angeles. Ingram made his first Pro Bowl in 2017 in year six in the league.

Dallas can obviously offer Lawrence an extension, but the safe move would be to franchise tag him this season. It’s not like the Cowboys have another in-house candidate primed for it either. He’ll get paid and hopefully the Cowboys get another great year out of the guy in 2018. This feels like a win-win for both parties.

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