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Cowboys news: What will the Cowboys decide to do with Demarcus Lawrence? Plus, draft targets.

The links for Wednesday morning.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys will be patient in game of tag with DeMarcus Lawrence - Todd Archer, ESPN

Archer writes that the Cowboys will be “patient” in using the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence.

Starting Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys can place the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, but there is no need for them to use it now.

If the Cowboys are not able to secure a long-term deal with Lawrence by March 6, they will place the franchise tag on their Pro Bowl defensive end, and it will cost them roughly $17.5 million in salary-cap space.

”Our first goal is to sign him to a long-term deal,” executive vice president Stephen Jones told reporters last month at the Senior Bowl. “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. 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 have used the franchise tag five times on four players.

Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan? - Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star

What’s the plan with Lawrence?

What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?

First of all, they’d make sure he doesn’t hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players’ contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.

It’s worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available.

Everything you need to know about the franchise tag and the Cowboys’ likely target for it, DeMarcus Lawrence - Kristi Scales, SportsDay

Scales writes that although the Cowboys will likely use the tag on Lawrence, it’d be a good idea to keep Hitchens, too.

Who can the Cowboys least afford to lose: DeMarcus Lawrence or Anthony Hitchens?

Elite pass rushers are more important that linebackers, so DeMarcus Lawrence is definitely the one guy on defense the Cowboys can’t afford to lose. They won’t. He’ll have the Franchise Tag slapped on him so that they buy time unitl July 16 to work out a long-term contract. But Hitchens should still be a priority, just a little lower on the list than Lawrence. Don’t lose Hitchens. He’s too valuable and versatile and productive a player to let walk!

Mailbag: Securing a Long-Term Deal With Lawrence? Intriguing Futures Players? - The Mothership

Bryan Broaddus and David Helman were asked if they think the Cowboys can get a deal done with Tank and use the tag on Anthony Hitchens. Helman doesn’t see it happening.

Do you see any scenario where the Cowboys are able to agree to a long-term deal with DeMarcus Lawrence in the next two weeks and then, use the franchise tag to keep Anthony Hitchens?

David: I would call it a slim chance. If he were to hit the open market, Lawrence would be one of the most high-demand players in this free agency window. He and his camp know that. The Cowboys also know that he’s had multiple injuries and a suspension during his career, so I doubt they’re eager to make him one of the highest-paid defenders in football right now. They might get a long-term deal done before the July deadline, but I sincerely doubt it happens by March 6.

2018 mock draft tracker: Two Alabama players make a strong showing - Dave Halprin, BTB

Who is trending the Cowboys way in the most recent mock drafts? Dave gives the latest — with some Alabama Crimson Tide flavor.

After weeks of Maurice Hurst overload, this week’s mock draft tracker finally starts seeing a little more variety. If you’re a fan of a couple of Alabama players, then you will be pleased to see their names showing up a little more. Both Da’Ron Payne and Calvin Ridley get some love in the tracker this week. Payne, and Vita Vea, are two fan-favorites to fit the Cowboys need for a true 1-tech defensive tackle.

If Ridley slides this far after weeks of going higher in almost every draft, the Cowboys would have to pounce, one would think. Fellow WR Christian Kirk also gets a few supporters this week, mainly because his speed could loosen up defenses.

Leighton Vander Esch and Tremaine Edmunds have both been mocked to the Cowboys, although Edmunds falling this far might be wishful thinking. The Cowboys need at linebacker could skyrocket if Anthony Hitchens leaves in free agency.

Dallas Cowboys 7-round Mock Draft 3.0: Cowboys stock up on defense in the first two rounds - Michael Sisemore, BTB

Speaking of mock drafts, Michael released his own on Tuesday. Could the Cowboys grab some Anthony Hitchens and Jaylon Smith insurance on day two?

Pick 50: Cowboys select Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa (Brugler: 65th, 2nd ILB)

Analysis: The Cowboys have two solid linebackers in Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith but could lose Anthony Hitchens to free agency. Damien Wilson was drafted a few years ago but has mainly been a headache. Jewell is the type of try-hard linebacker that brings his lunch pail to work everyday to steal a Garrett-ism. Jewell is solid in run defense but also in coverage, he is a reliable tackler and had 120+ tackles in each of the last three seasons.

Plan B: Cowboys could draft this blossoming LB prospect on Day 2 if they miss out on Roquan Smith - Dane Brugler, SportsDay

More linebacker targets! Dane Brugler has you covered with an intriguing LB talent for day two of the draft: Leighton Vander Esch from the Boise State Broncos.

Strengths: Lateral range to mirror and pursuit speed to close. Plant-and-drive quickness to unlock and go. High football intelligence. Backfield vision and toughness to scrape down the line and find the correct gap. Functional strength to find work in the trenches. Gets skinny through gaps with budding skills as a blitzer. Coordinated feet to control his movements in coverage. Effective in his zone drops, using his eyes to feel routes and find passing lanes. Strikes with pop in his pads, tackling low and bringing his legs with him. Motor doesn’t quit and defends both sidelines. Workable body type with length, adding 40-plus pounds since he arrived in Boise. Team captain with impressive character on and off the field. Self-starter and quickly proved his worth as a walk-on, earning a scholarship during his redshirt season (Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin: “He’s not lucky, he’s a hard worker.”). Highly productive 2017 season, ranking fifth in the FBS with 141 tackles.

Dallas Cowboys Draft 2018: Five cornerbacks and where to find them - Michael Sisemore, BTB

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, when and where can the Cowboys find more talent to add to the secondary?

Brandon Facyson, 6’2, 197 lbs, Virginia Tech (Brugler: 192nd, 24th CB)

The Hokies had one of the country’s most underrated defenses in 2017 and Facyson was one of their standout defenders. He’s got great length in his arms but is built well for his frame, too. He’s a very smart and instinctive player that makes it really hard on possession receivers. Facyson has a great knack for getting his fair share of those 50/50 throws and his timing is excellent. He has a hard time with the shifty, speedy receivers and his 40 time will be important as some might think he’s a touch slow. He’s going to carve out a nice role as a Cover-2 cornerback who is very disruptive and is the Hokies All-Time leader in passes defensed.

Where you get him: Fifth or sixth round

Four QBs could go in NFL Draft before Cowboys pick at 19. What would that mean for Dallas? - Damon Marx, Brandon George, David Moore and Jon Machota, SportsDay

Jon Machota says Cowboys fans should be “rooting for as many quarterbacks and running backs to be drafted early as possible”.

Jon Machota: A lot will change over the next month as players go through the scouting combine and individual team workouts. But as of today, if a player like Roquan Smith, Marcus Davenport, Calvin Ridley or Derwin James doesn’t fall to No. 19, it might be best to trade back. Teams don’t usually like this option because it takes them away from drafting a talented player, but let’s not act like every draft is created equal. Maybe when it’s all said and done, the Cowboys only have 15 players with a first-round grade. If they aren’t getting one of those players, why not try to trade back in the first round and add an additional pick? The Cowboys did this in 2013, trading back from 18 to 31. They drafted Travis Frederick at 31 and then Terrance Williams with pick 74 that they acquired in the trade. A lot of early mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle at 19. I don’t see that happening. Trading back, gaining an additional pick and drafting a DT is possible - I just don’t see it at 19. If you’re a Cowboys fan, you should be rooting for as many quarterbacks and running backs to be drafted early as possible. Dallas isn’t drafting either position at 19, so having them come off the board pushes players they want down the board.

Five-year grades for the first round of the 2013 draft and how the Cowboys are still cashing in - DannyPhantom, BTB

DannyPhantom takes a look at Walter Football’s five-year draft grades. Remember when people were questioning the Travis Frederick? The moral of the story of is to be patient and trust the franchise.

It’s always nice when you panic, but then turn around and pull an All-Pro out of your hat. While this pick was met with heavy criticism, we can now all laugh about it over a couple of lemonades. Not only did the Cowboys grab one of the top centers in the league, they grabbed an extra third-round pick that they used to select Terrance Williams. And more important than anything else, it was a defining moment that led to more draft authority being given to McClay. And us fans are thankful for that as there have been some really great decisions made by this organization over the last few years.

Here’s how fans can register for NFL Draft tickets at AT&T Stadium - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram

Want to have a chance to win NFL Draft tickets? Follow the link and make sure to enter by 11:59 ET on March 14th.

The lottery opens today and ends at 10:59 p.m. March 14. Fans can register by visiting for an opportunity to win free tickets for themselves and a guest for seating inside AT&T Stadium.

Fans selected for seated tickets will receive an email notifying them in late March. The draft will also encompass outdoor plazas, including the NFL Draft Experience outside the stadium that will span the size of 26 football fields.

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