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Cowboys news: Winners and losers of the franchise tag and what it all means for DeMarcus Lawrence

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence not close on contract - Kevin Patra, NFL.com

The two sides do not appear close as Ian Rapoport explains that the initial offer by the Cowboys wasn’t considered serious.

Rapoport said Dallas made an offer to the pass rusher’s agent, David Canter, in Indianapolis (during the NFL Scouting Combine), that was not considered serious by Lawrence and his camp. If the sides aren’t even close enough for the player to consider it serious right before free agency opens, it likely signifies we’re months away from any resolution.

Prepare the siege provisions.

If the Cowboys can’t get a deal done by mid-July, those questions would ramp up heading into training camp.

Tag in place, what’s next for Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence? - Todd Archer, ESPN

With the tag in place, what’s next for the Cowboys. Todd Archer examines three possibilities.

A trade

What could the Cowboys get for Lawrence, who turns 27 in April? Probably not two first-rounders, but perhaps they could get one from a team late in the round. They don’t have a first-round pick this year because of the Amari Cooper trade.

Of course, if they trade Lawrence, they don’t have their best pass-rusher and will have to find a replacement. Elite pass-rushers usually do not become available -- Reggie White being an exception way back in 1993. The Cowboys searched long and hard for what owner and general manager Jerry Jones calls a “war daddy,” after cutting DeMarcus Ware after the 2013 season.

They traded up in the second round in 2014 to get Lawrence, who took some time to develop but led the Cowboys in sacks in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Getting that kind of value in return would seem difficult.

5 Things the Franchise Tag Means for DeMarcus Lawrence - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue

Scales discusses five aspects of the franchise tag that fans should be aware of as it pertains to DeMarcus Lawrence.

Should Cowboys Fans Worry About Lawrence’s New Deal Getting Done Before July 15th?

The Cowboys have now applied the Franchise Tag seven times in their history (including Lawrence in 2018). In all previous instances, players were on the field by the time the season rolled around. In 2015, the Cowboys applied the Franchise Tag on Dez Bryant; he and the team inked a multi-year deal that summer just before the deadline. Dez’s deal was for 5 years $70 million, including $45 million guaranteed.

Lawrence’s deal will be worth more than Dez’s. Pass rushers are the second-highest paid position group in the NFL, second only to quarterbacks. The going rate for the elite pass rushers is $20+ million per season. Lawrence is going to average over $20 million per season on a long-term deal, no doubt about it.

With Randy Gregory serving a suspension, there’s even more pressure on the Cowboys to keep Lawrence in the fold. An effective pass defense is predicated on pressuring the quarterback, and D-Law has proven to be among the best pass rushers in the business. The Cowboys can’t afford to NOT have Lawrence on the field in 2019; this team needs him.

Mailbag: Timing A D-Law Deal? Prospect Grades? - Staff, Dallas Cowboys

Bryan Broaddus and Rob Phillips from the Mothership answer a couple mailbag questions, including why the front office is dragging this thing out with DeMarcus Lawrence.

I’m wondering why the Cowboys would let DeMarcus Lawrence wait for a new contract given his importance to the team, a market price that is set by similar players and the need to get on with other free agent business? - STEVE JUNKER

Bryan: What if it’s not market price? We don’t know what Lawrence’s side is asking for. We don’t know what the front office is offering. These deals are not as simple as you want to believe. Every deal is different and getting there is not always easy for both sides.

Rob: I can’t tell you exactly when a deal might get done, but I wouldn’t frame this as the Cowboys “letting Lawrence wait.” They made an offer last week at the Combine and talked with Lawrence’s camp at points throughout the week. They want to get him signed long term, and the way Dez Bryant’s negotiation dragged on back in 2015, I have a hard time believing they want a repeat of that.

13 Burning questions about Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence’s franchise tag - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

Here is everything you need to know about the franchise tag, courtesy of the noble Drummond.

What happens if Lawrence doesn’t sign the tender?

Per the CBA, the two sides have until July 15 to come to an agreement on a new, multi-year deal. If not, the two sides can only negotiate a one-year deal at that point, and that moratorium lasts until the team is finished playing games for the 2019 season. The one-year deal is key because without any bonuses to defer cap hits until future seasons, it’s a big strain on the Cowboys’ cap space.

Can the Cowboys rescind the tag?

Yes, as long as Lawrence hasn’t signed the tender. This happened a few years ago in Carolina with CB Josh Norman. Norman’s agent was pissing off the Panthers in negotiations and they rescinded the tag, thinking a long-term deal would never happen. Norman even tried to sign the tender after he learned what was happening but Carolina refused. That led Norman to fire his agent and then eventually sign a long-term deal with Washington.

Winners and losers from the 2019 NFL franchise-tag deadline - Dan Graziano, ESPN

Who are the real winners and losers from the franchise-tag deadline?

Yeah, he got tagged for the second year in a row and I doubt he’s happy about it, but I have him in this section for two reasons. First, because he’s being tagged for the second year in a row, Lawrence’s salary will be $20.5716 million, much higher than this year’s $17.128 million tag for defensive ends. And second, think about the big picture here. Even if the Cowboys don’t sign Lawrence to a long-term deal (which they have said they very much want to and are optimistic that they will), no one’s sitting prettier than he is this time next year. A second year playing on the tag would mean he’d have made a total of $37.7146 million over two seasons (2018-19), fully guaranteed, and tagging him a third time in 2020 would cost the Cowboys nearly $25 million.

Assuming Lawrence stays healthy, he’d be the defensive-end version of Kirk Cousins. I also still think he, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper end up with top-of-the-market extensions from the Cowboys in the next couple of months.

Pass-rusher has become a little bit like quarterback -- teams just generally don’t let the best ones hit the market if they can help it. So if you need an edge guy and you’d been saving your free-agent bucks for Lawrence or Clark or Ford or Clowney ... you’re out of luck. Only one team is going to get Flowers, and after him you’re into Dante Fowler Jr./Ezekiel Ansah territory. Do you feel lucky? Well, you kind of are, because it so happens that this year’s draft class is loaded with a couple of dozen genetically engineered Autobots and Decepticons who play all over the defensive line. But if you were hoping to find pass rush in free agency, you’re not thrilled about what happened at the franchise

Hey, Eagles! Celebrate the crumbling NFC East as Giants, Cowboys, Redskins implode - Zack Rosenblatt, NJ Advance Media

Eagles fans are trying to distract themselves from the fact they don’t have any cap space and are going to have to cut some players loose shortly. Not to mention, their Super Bowl-winning quarterback will be leaving for Jacksonville real soon. Looking across the division, they try to take comfort in other teams problems, including the Lawrence contract situation in Dallas.

The Cowboys might be reaching an impasse with Demarcus Lawrence, one of the league’s premier pass rushers. The Cowboys’ inability to lock up Lawrence is somewhat baffling considering his skills and age (26). Now he’s franchise tagged (again) and he might not be as willing to sign the tender this time around. There are some rumblings of a holdout. One report indicates “this thing could get a bit ugly”, and on top of that Lawrence might be out a few months in recovery from shoulder surgery.

If that’s not enough, there’s a chance the Cowboys soon overpay Dak Prescott and this is a team (with a lot of holes) that doesn’t even own its first-round pick.

DeMarcus Lawrence complications ripple to Earl Thomas, others - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports

Could the Lawrence situation create other issues when free agency begins?

The Cowboys must consider how this impacts their goal of wooing free agents this offseason. Referring back to the optics of the situation, you can imagine how it’d look to go full bore at someone like Earl Thomas while the home-grown Lawrence sits on the shelf. With Thomas reportedly looking for upwards of $15 million per season and predictably refusing to accept a hometown discount, granting the All-Pro safety — or any outsider — a deal that lands anywhere near that sum would be a knife-twist to Lawrence, an incumbent two-time pro bowler and All-Pro who delivered the first back-to-back double digit sack season since DeMarcus Ware did it in 2011 and 2012.

That said, the stall on Lawrence could resonate outward and negatively affect the Cowboys’ plans for bringing in new talent, creating a mirror-fracture of events. They could go out and pay Thomas or someone like Landon Collins, etc., in the first wave of free agency, but they’d be wise to remember something important here: Those who leave home with the stove on usually return to find their house on fire.

Can the Dallas Cowboys afford DeMarcus Lawrence and Earl Thomas? - Reid Hanson, Fansided

There are a lot of talented players the Cowboys are interesting in signing, including Earl Thomas, but can they afford all these investments?

Can Dallas afford to sign Lawrence and Thomas and still eventually re-sign Dak, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, and Jaylon Smith over the next couple seasons? Again, “yes”. As long as Dallas isn’t misevaluating players, they can afford to pay big money to big-time producers. Cap space can be manipulated but it’s still finite. Don’t assume these players are asking for more than Dallas can afford. They can afford it. The question is do they feel like paying it.

Earl Thomas and DeMarcus Lawrence are asking for more money than we once thought but given the current state of the Dallas Cowboys, they can afford to sign anyone they want. The question is – how bad do they want these guys…

On Monday, we polled the BTB community and asked them what the Cowboys should do with Lawrence if they can’t get a deal they want by the July 15th deadline.

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

Star Evaluation: Pivotal Year For Taco Charlton - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys

In the wake of all this chaos with the Cowboys defensive ends, it sure would be nice if Taco turned the corner and started ballin’. The Mothership profiles the team’s young edge rusher in Tuesday’s star evaluation.

What’s Been Good: A first-round pick two years ago, Charlton has shown flashes as a down-to-down pass rusher, particularly in the first month of the 2018 season with a heavy snap count. He also made strides as run defender last season, tying for third on the team with four tackles for loss. “He, like a lot of players, is a work in progress. He’s still a developmental player,” head coach Jason Garrett said last week at the NFL Combine. “He’s done some good things. But he has to continue to take the next step.”

What’s Been Bad: Charlton suffered a shoulder injury in Week 9 against Tennessee and missed five of the next six games. The injury set him back in the rotation down the stretch and he played limited snaps in the Cowboys’ two playoff games. By the end of the season, Randy Gregory had stepped in as the primary rusher from the right side.

What’s Next: At least for now, Gregory’s indefinite NFL suspension is a blow to the defensive line’s depth. (Gregory rotated with Charlton at right end last season and finished second on defense in sacks.) Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said last week it’s “not impossible” to think Gregory could be reinstated by Week 1, but at the moment, Charlton is the team’s most experienced full-time defensive end behind DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys need him to take a step forward in 2019.

Could Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown be the Cowboys’ Cole Beasley replacement? - Kevin Turner, The Athletic

DeMarcus Lawrence is the only Cowboys free agent that is looking for a new deal, but replacing Cole Beasley might be able to be accomplished through the draft.

This wide receiver class is loaded. It’s not top-heavy, but it is very deep. Plenty of teams in need of a receiver could feel comfortable taking another position earlier in the draft, because they know they could pick up a solid player a little bit later down the road. That opens the door for a slider, and I think A.J. Brown is a major candidate to slip in this draft. With that being said, it is unlikely he would be available when the Cowboys make their third-round selection.

He’d step in and immediately start for the Cowboys, playing both inside and out, while bringing an element of physicality to the team’s receiver group. He can do the dirty work over the middle while also being dangerous with the ball in his hands. There are things he can improve on, but at the risk of sounding generic, he’s a gamer.

Brown’s game isn’t very similar to Cole Beasley’s. But if the Cowboys don’t bring back the former SMU receiver, the Ole Miss receiver should be on their short list of replacement candidates.