Vikings pass rusher Danielle Hunter inked a big contract extension earlier this week after spending three seasons with the team. In his first three-years in the NFL, Hunter has been among the better defensive ends in the NFL when it comes to getting after the quarterback. Since entering the league in 2015, the former third-round pick has appeared in 46 games (17 starts) and has raked up 25.5 sacks in those 46 games. When comparing Danielle Hunter’s and DeMarcus Lawrence’s career, you’ll notice both players have had very similar careers.
Hunter entered the league as a third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and Lawrence entered the league as a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Hunter has totaled 25.5 sacks in three years in the NFL (46 games), and Demarcus Lawrence has totaled 23.5 sacks in four years in the NFL (48 games). When we look at their careers, we also notice that Hunter has played one less year than Lawrence, but he does have two more sacks on his record. But when we take a look at how many games both players have played, they are very similar. Lawrence has yet to prove that he can be as reliable as Hunter due to recurring back issues, and some questionable decision-making two seasons ago.
The points listed above are all things the Cowboys’ front office will look at when deciding whether or not they want to give Lawrence a bigger extensions than Hunter’s at some point in the future. When you look at the stats, they slightly favor the Vikings’ defensive end, but at the same time, the Vikings defense is so good that it’s much easier for a lesser caliber player to get more pressure due to the other weapons the Vikings have on defense.
Lawrence currently has the suspension and injury concerns on his résumé that are holding the Joneses back from handing over a blank check to him, but there’s no denying that when healthy, Lawrence can be a dominant pass rusher week in and week out. For both parties, the Danielle Hunter contract extension is a perfect starting point.
The team announced it signed the fourth-year defensive end to a contract extension, which two league sources said will pay Hunter at least $72 million over five years. He can earn up to $78 million through incentives, and will receive at least $40 million in guaranteed money. Hunter will earn $48 million over the first three years of the deal, including a $15 million signing bonus.
When you take into account the resources the Cowboys gave away to draft Lawrence and his inability to stay healthy and/or not suspended you can completely understand why the Joneses are hesitant, but after an absolute dominant 2017 season, and a really nice 2015 season, you can also understand why DeMarcus Lawrence and his agent are ready to get paid. If Lawrence’s agent wants to begin discussions before the start of the 2019 offseason, this is a range both parties should take a long hard look at and see the similarities between the players and the money they are expected to make.
So what do you think Cowboys Nation, will DeMarcus Lawrence take a deal similar to Danielle Hunter? Or will he be looking to ink a deal similar to Olivier Vernon? Remember, both Lawrence and Vernon share the same agent, so that could also have an impact when discussions begin at some point in the season.