The standoff between the Dallas Cowboys and DeMarcus Lawrence is still in progress with no clear end in sight. We are all hoping that changes before the 2019 season begins; maybe even a little earlier if a conditional shoulder surgery has to be completed. It’s a frustrating time for fans because we all want to see the team’s All-Pro edge rusher signed to a long term deal so he’s a happy camper when training camp rolls around. Yesterday, we talked about how Lawrence is completely within his right to want his big payday and how the Cowboys need to make sure they close the deal soon. Today, we’re taking a look at the other side of the coin where the front office is doing what good front offices do - preserve cap space.
There are many fans supportive of Team Lawrence and feel this charade has drug out long enough. Why doesn’t the team just pay him? Has he not proved his value to this football team? The team’s lack of commitment towards Lawrence is perceived by some as a sign of disrespect as if the front office just does’t feel he’s worth what he’s asking. But this current stalemate has nothing to do with the Cowboys believing he’s not worth it. If it was up to Jerry Jones, he’d pay him a ridiculous amount of money to remain with the Cowboys, but it’s not that simple. The front office is confined to the rules of the salary cap that is in place to help ensure competitive balance within the league.
The Cowboys aren’t trying to be cheap on the Lawrence deal because they don’t feel he’s worth it. They know he is. They are just trying to fight for a more affordable cost that will allow them to retain other players as well. These are the boundaries they are up against. Any extra few million that goes to Tank is a few million they don’t have for others on the team. And with several other star players commanding big deals soon, any type of savings they can achieve is significant. The front office has an entire team to think about and they have to make tough decisions all the time that they feel is going to give themselves the best chance to win.
Is it greedy for Lawrence to try to get as much as he can? Absolutely not. He’s earned it. And if that puts the Cowboys in a bind where they have to challenge themselves on how much they’d be willing to invest towards him, so be it. That’s the whole purpose of the cap - to force teams to make those tough decisions where sometimes they have to part ways with some of their talent. But at the same time, it’s not disrespectful for the Cowboys to try to work the best deal. They owe it to the team. A misstep here or there and the team suffers.
When hearing that the two sides are still far apart it puts a little fear in some fans as they wonder if an eventual divorce could be on the horizon. That’s not going happen. The two sides will come together and agree eventually. It’s just a staring contest right now and nobody is willing to blink. Both Jerry and Stephen Jones have plenty of experience with this. They have no intention of letting their young star edge rusher get away. Stephen still remains positive despite not being close to striking a deal.
“We’re going to continue to try to move the ball forward and see if there is some common ground we can find,” Jones said. “I’m certainly not going to draw any lines in the sand, and we haven’t. No bright lines so far. We’ve just been apart. Hopefully, we can continue to come up with some creative ways to maybe create some common ground.”
No lines in the sand means the front office is still open to negotiate. They haven’t set any hard cutoff or established any sort of “take it or leave it” type of circumstance. Talks are still ongoing. The Cowboys want Lawrence on the team, and they also want him to get a huge second contract. Head coach Jason Garrett even came out and said exactly that.
Jason Garrett on DeMarcus Lawrence: “We want you to make more money...The Joneses want you to make more money. But having said that, we want to be part of a team that can compete for a championship. And in doing that, you have to have discipline under the salary cap.”— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) March 26, 2019
Garrett reiterates how the front office is making decisions with the common goal of competing for a championship. They must do everything they can to save as much money as possible. Ultimately, the two will come to an agreement where each side will have benefited from the negotiations. Lawrence is going to be a very rich man and the Cowboys will save a little money in the process. And there will be no hard feelings. Why? Because the Cowboys will have their star pass rusher for the next several years and Lawrence will be one of the highest paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL. Everyone will be happy, but for now - it’s just business.