Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is fresh off agreeing to a five-year, $105 million deal. When you get paid that kind of money, why not have a press conference? Lawrence did just that today, along with Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett, and here’s what they had to say. (All answers are paraphrased and not actual quotes)
Stephen Jones: As Jerry Jones said we have a plan, we have a lot of wood to chop, but we’re thrilled about this team heading into the draft. This is DeMarcus’ day. Big day for the Cowboys, he’s the highest-paid player in franchise and it’s well-deserved.
Jason Garrett: We talk about what our team should look like, how we want to play and who can help us get there, cornerstone players. Guys we’ll sign through two contracts, Lawrence is one of those guys. I have vivid memories of needing to get him in the draft. A guy we needed, a leader on our team, represents the values of the team, coming through adversity to be one of the elite. He is a leader up front on defense and on our team.
DeMarcus Lawrence: Thank you to the Joneses, thank God for putting me into this position. A blessing to be here, thanks to my family.
Lawrence: I know the Hot Boyz are waiting for me, I’ve just been waiting to get back on that field.
Lawrence notes that players don’t like to see other players around the league with less talent or a lower skillset get paid more than them. (BTB note: The Cowboys paid Lawrence top dollar because that’s what he’s worth.)
Lawrence also discussed that while the negotiation process had it’s “ups and downs” the whole thing went a lot faster than he anticipated. He did mention that he got “frustrated” at the beginning because the deal wasn’t where he wanted it to be, but overall it worked out.
What was particularly interesting was to hear how Lawrence praised Stephen Jones. He noted that their conversation together let Lawrence know that Stephen and the Cowboys are dedicated to this overall cause. He was honest about what players tend to think about the franchise tag, wondering if the team wanted him here long-term, but was thankful that it went the way that it did.
Lawrence on Le’Veon Bell: It wasn’t going to be no Le’Veon situation. (Much laughter in the room)
Tank spoke very humbly about the impact the contract he just earned will have on his family and future generations. He spoke of how his family is now taken care of and that they will be long after he’s “dead and gone” which, while a bit morose, is very true and important.
Lawrence on surgery: I will definitely be ready for the start of the season, I’m not worried about that. It’s just getting it over with, that’s all it is.
Lawrence on Robert Quinn: When I first came into the league Robert Quinn was beasting it... it’s just basically truly a blessing to have another end that can get pressure on the quarterback. You can never have too many rushers on your team. It’s truly a blessing to have Robert Quinn on the other side.
Lawrence on being the highest-paid player in Cowboys history: I have so many emotions going on. It’s hard for me to just take it in. I’m just blessed to be in this position in my life. Through all my surgeries, through all my highs and lows of my life, it’s humbling to be in this position and be able to thank God for everything He put me through. Going through everything, back surgeries and stuff, I thought my career was over before I made a couple of sacks. I thought that I’d never see this day. I’m blessed just to be here. It’s a lot.
Stephen Jones touched on trading up with the Washington Redskins to get Lawrence, certainly a deal that worked out nicely. He noted that trading with a rival can be rare and that the rival has no qualms about taking advantage of the situation, but they really wanted Lawrence so they paid the price in the draft.
Stephen on the roster: This day today is about DeMarcus. We’ll continue to chop wood, work hard to continue to keep this team together. Hats off to the organization we’ve done a great job of drafting good football players. As you know, we like to pay our own. We feel like that’s the safest way to build our roster and do what we’ve done in the offseason which is fill in efficiently with some trades and free agency.
Stephen: DeMarcus has demonstrated what you want to have in a cornerstone player.
On what Lawrence takes the most pride in: The contract is a big accomplishment, but my goal still is to have a gold jacket. That’s why I’m so honored to be a Cowboy and to do it here. I’ve got a lot of work to keep doing. I’m in my moment right now so you all have to excuse me, this is very special to me. I just have to keep building. Just keep putting on my resume. You never know, they might give me a third contract or something!