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Poll: If the Cowboys can’t get the deal they want with DeMarcus Lawrence, what should they do?

What are the team’s options if they can’t get a deal done with their star pass rusher?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest offseason priority of the Dallas Cowboys is to get their star edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence signed to a long-term deal. The front office extended their first offer to him last week, but it appears that the two sides aren’t close at this point. And now, the Cowboys have placed the franchise tag on him for the second-straight season.

Lawrence played under the tag last season at a price of $17.1 million, but the new tag price would consist of a 20% increase, amounting to $20.5 million for the 2019 season. Lawrence has already said that he is unwilling to sign another franchise tag, so this could complicate things a bit. The Cowboys had no choice but to tag him or else he would be free to hit the open market and negotiate with other teams. This would drive up his price even more as several teams would then be vying to obtain one of the leagues top edge rushers. The Cowboys simply cannot let that happen.

So, even with him tagged, more negotiations will follow. The team has until July 15 to strike a new deal before the tag price goes into effect. That is, if Lawrence even agrees to sign it. He could hold firm to his word and sit out similar to what Le’Veon Bell did last year. Lawrence doesn’t seem like the type of person to do that, but the inability to get a deal done is certainly going to be upsetting to him. He played under the tag last year without a complaint. The team wanted him to go out and prove he was worth it and that’s exactly what he did. What more is he expected to do?

Well, that’s not promising.

For Dallas, this simply comes down to the financials. They want to get him at a cost that is as affordable as possible, especially with several other players expecting to sign pricey extensions real soon. If Lawrence is asking to be the highest paid pass rusher in the league, eclipsing Khalil Mack’s deal of six-years, $141 million - the Cowboys front office is likely going to fight it. But “team DeMarcus” will fight right back. His agent is David Canter from DEC Management, who is the same person who landed Olivier Vernon a huge deal in 2016. Three years have gone by and Vernon’s deal still gives him the third-highest average salary in the league for edge rushers. Lawrence’s new deal is going to be expensive any way you look at it.

The idea that Lawrence and the Cowboys are far away in terms of price could just be the typical song-and-dance that goes with these types of negotiations. But it could also mean this thing could drag out a while. More concerning is that Lawrence still hasn’t undergone shoulder surgery and is postponing that until a new deal gets done. If he puts off surgery until later, then this could make his status come training camp uncertain. He would also sit out all team activities until a new deal is done. The last thing the team wants to see happen is commit to a player for a bunch of money only to have them not be ready to go for the new season. The Cowboys need to get this taken care of soon.

There is another side to this where the gap in price is rather substantial and a long-term deal isn’t likely. Then what?

Should the Cowboys front office just give in and pay Lawrence what he wants? If they did that, what would that mean for the other guys they have to sign?

Or what if they did what Oakland did last year and trade him away for draft picks? Could they get a young edge rusher under a cheap four-year deal? What would be the impact of the defensive line until his replacement has developed into a formidable player? And who’s to say that even happens. What if he’s a bust? With Tank, they know what they have.

Then again, maybe they play him under the tag again and then retry this all again next year. Of course, there doesn’t seem like much to gain from that. If he continues to play at the level he is playing at, his cost is just going to balloon that much more. Tank would have even more leverage as a third tag would cost the Cowboys nearly $30 million. What if that prices him out of Dallas if the team has already made other sizable cap investments by then?

We asked the fans on twitter what the front office should do if they cannot come to an agreement. Here are the results...

What about you? What do you think the Cowboys should do in this situation?

Poll

If the Cowboys can’t get the deal they want with Lawrence, what should they do?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Just pony up the cash and give him what he wants
    (966 votes)
  • 54%
    Tag him and then try to trade him for a first-round pick
    (2069 votes)
  • 20%
    Tag him, deal with a disgruntled Tank, and then try again next season
    (783 votes)
3818 votes total Vote Now