How does placing the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence affect the Cowboys’ present and future? Todd Archer writes on just that.
Without question, the Cowboys’ defense is better with Lawrence. He had a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2017. The coaches credited him with 52 quarterback pressures, a staggering figure not seen by a Cowboys pass-rusher since Hall of Famer Charles Haley was credited with 52 in 1994.
Lawrence’s effectiveness goes to the running game, too. He had six tackles for loss, which was the most among the team’s defensive linemen. The Cowboys allowed 3.88 yards per rush with Lawrence on the field in 2017 and 4.19 yards per rush without him.
If Lawrence produces another double-digit-sack season without a long-term deal in place, then the price will go up. If the Cowboys wanted to tag him a second time in 2019, it could cost upwards of $20 million.
That could affect the Cowboys’ future dealings with Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott, who can receive new deals for the first time after 2018. If Martin does not get an extension this offseason, then the Cowboys will face the possibility of losing either Martin or Lawrence in 2019 because a team can use the franchise tag on only one player.
Instead of complaining about the franchise tag, Tank is embracing it and hoping it pays off.
“I feel like they have given me the opportunity to really break the bank next year,” Lawrence said.
The Cowboys and Lawrence have until July 16 to work out a long-term extension or the pass rusher will play on the tag he signed hours after it was utilized by the team.
Unlike some players, like Le’Veon Bell, who detest the short-term commitment of the tag and are willing to sit out of offseason workouts or even going so far as to threaten retirement, Lawrence has always been fine with the prospect of one year of big guaranteed money.
This turned out to be an “ideal situation”, writes Hanson.
This is shaking out to be an ideal situation that’s been handled perfectly by all parties involved. Tank is willing and able to prove it once again. He has a realistic grasp of his sitatuion and is responding the right way.
Dallas isn’t eager to hand out $100 million to a player who’s technically a one-year wonder. They are choosing fiscal restraint and are willing to endure a little discomfort rather than gamble for the sake of comfort.
Both sides know, if Tank repeats his 2017 performance he’ll be in line for the biggest defensive contract in the NFL.
How does placing the tag on Lawrence affect free agency? BTB’s Michael Sisemore shares his thoughts.
Now that we got all the math out of the way, where does all this leave the Cowboys in terms of free agency? Well, we’re smart enough around BTB to know that spending heavily in free agency is just not part of this organization’s philosophy. Besides, by the time the Cowboys work out deals for Martin and Lawrence, free agency could be a distant memory.
Instead, expect it to be another quiet offseason this spring as the Cowboys go bottom-fishing again for a couple of veterans on the cheap. As much posturing that Stephen Jones has been doing regarding Dez Bryant, the two sides need to work that out because replacement options are not looking good. Jarvis Landry was tagged and other high profile guys will be expensive. The best the Cowboys could hope for is that new position coach Sanjay Lal can lure Donte Moncrief on a one-year prove-it deal.
The team of Bryan Broaddus and David Helman share their thoughts on the salary cap situation.
Bryan: Bryant is a possibility for a reduction. The best avenue will likely get money from Frederick. He’s the most consistent player that you feel like pushing money out would work out for you.
David: Just for the record, there doesn’t need to be a cap casualty this year. Even with Lawrence on the franchise tag, the Cowboys are under the cap. I would guess they’re going to restructure Travis Frederick’s deal, and they might try to reduce Dez Bryant’s salary. Other than that, I don’t envision them having to do anything crazy to accomplish their goals.
Placing the tag on DeMarcus Lawrence was the right move.
I’ve held all along that the Cowboys shouldn’t rush to a major contract. And no, hopefully this doesn’t lead to franchise tag nightmare, mirroring the disaster in Washington with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
No, the Cowboys are smart with their compensation packages in Dallas, understanding others need a little TLC too. So, from an operations point of view, don’t pay a single player top coin based off of one year’s worth of production. Smack. Home run.
This 2018 franchise tag solidifies the Cowboys as smart and savvy spenders. Because, you know how owner Jerry Jones loves to make his splashes. The Cowboys are pushing away their contractual mistakes and nailing down the things they got right. Add this franchise tag in the right column.
One of the most electrifying players in this class is Christian Kirk from the Texas A&M Aggies. The Cowboys met with the former collegiate star.
Although Dallas already has a solid slot receiver in Cole Beasley and drafted his backup, Ryan Switzer, in the fourth round last year, they did strike up an informal conversation with Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk while the combine was in progress. According to John Machota of the Dallas Morning News, Kirk and the Cowboys went over Dallas’ offense and coverages.
Another prospect that played his college football in the state of Texas is Marcus Davenport. The Cowboys also met with the defensive end.
Davenport towers about at an impressive 6-foot-5, weighing in at 264 lb. and while he’s not quite the alien specimen Irving is, he’s taller and carries more mass than does Lawrence while also being a shade shorter and lighter than Charlton. In other words, he’s physically right up the Cowboys’ alley. What’s most impressive is how he can get his body in gear though, having the speed and quickness to match his aggression -- which makes sense considering he played three sports in high school, which included being a sprinter.
That would explain why his 40-yard dash was faster than some defensive backs.
A safety that the Cowboys are looking at is former Wake Forest Demon Deacons star Jessie Bates.
Like Church, Bates is not afraid to lower his pads and deliver punishment to a ball-carrier. His aggressiveness and physical nature will serve him well but he’ll need to be careful with the former, as it can force him into taking the wrong angle for a tackle. Overpursuit is an issue the Cowboys fought through with the now-departed J.J. Wilcox, and they’d like to avoid swimming in that pool again. While Bates is not as challenged in that arena as Wilcox was, it’s still an opportunity for improvement in his otherwise impressive skill set -- one that also gives him the ability to play to top of slot routes.
Miller has the Cowboys going offensive line in round one.
Wynn, a left tackle at Georgia, has the perfect build for a left guard and brings excellent athleticism into a scheme that fits his movement skills and length. If fans want to see Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott at their best in 2018, giving them a top-tier left guard like Wynn and rounding out the offensive line is a way to get it.
Is Saquon Barkley the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson? Not so fast, according to Dane Brugler.
Is Saquon Barkley looking more impressive than Zeke did coming into the NFL draft?
Brugler: Barkley is the freakier athlete, there isn’t much debate about that. However, I have a higher grade on Zeke as a college prospect than Barkley because Zeke gets the edge in the RB-specific traits like vision, patience and decision-making. And in the NFL, that matters more. I love Barkley and expect him to be an outstanding back. But he falls a hair behind Zeke in my mind.
Dez to the Bears? ESPN’s Mike Sando says that could be a trade destination for number 88.
But Mike Sando of ESPN speculated about the possibility and found two teams in the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears that would make sense as trade partners.
”Bryant will turn 30 in November, and he has declined markedly from a production standpoint, which is why the trade price would be relatively low. He still would provide a talent infusion for teams seeking options at the position. Chicago’s receiving needs are acute. One question would be whether adding a potentially high-maintenance veteran wideout would make sense for a Bears team with a young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky and a first-year head coach in Matt Nagy.”