Based on reports coming out of Dallas this past week, it certainly seems like there is a chance DeMarcus Lawrence has played his last down as a Cowboy. According to Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News, Dallas approached Lawrence and asked if he would take a paycut. The 29-year-old unsurprisingly declined.
Multiple sources say Cowboys offered DeMarcus Lawrence a paycut and he declined. Here’s our report from Indy. https://t.co/B0PIHSdNSf— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 6, 2022
It’s not a shock that Lawrence declined the Cowboys’ proposal. The two-time Pro-Bowler earned his money, and he deserves to keep it. But, if the situation does come to a head and the Cowboys are to release Lawrence, they’ll need to add some pass-rush help to replace his production.
Outside of bringing back Randy Gregory, one intriguing option in free agency to replace Lawrence could be 29-year-old Jadeveon Clowney. The defensive end is coming off his best statistical season since 2018, in which he registered 53 pressures, 32 hurries, 11 TFL, and 11 sacks, via Pro Football Focus.
Probably should block Jadeveon Clowney— PFF (@PFF) September 12, 2021
Jadeveon Clowney : 3 tackles, 2 sacks & 5 QB hits pic.twitter.com/BG3V3dslzl— Lee Harvey (@AyeThatsLee) September 26, 2021
Jadeveon Clowney is in his 8th year in the NFL and makes it look too easy while tracking down a speedy Kyler Murray for the sack. pic.twitter.com/uunWvI9KwA— Vizor Sports (@VizorSportsSC) October 18, 2021
Last week, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin linked Clowney to the Cowboys in his “NFL free agency 2022 mock draft” piece.
24. Cowboys: DE Jadeveon Clowney
They have plenty of other needs (OG, WR, TE, LB), but with Randy Gregory mocked to a new home and Demarcus Lawrence coming off an injury-riddled year, Clowney would give them an imposing short-term starter for their playmaking “D.”
Even if the Cowboys were to bring back Gregory, signing Clowney wouldn’t be out of the picture. The eight-year pro has been on a one-year deal every season since 2019, so Dallas might be able to interest him in a high-money, short-term deal.
If Clowney is looking for something more long-term, he won’t break the bank in free agency. Spotrac projects his value at a four-year deal worth a little over $51M total. While that is probably a little high for Dallas’ liking, if they were able to get it down to the $45M or so range they could be interested.
If the Cowboys really are going to make the decision to get rid of DeMarcus Lawrence, they’ll need to use some of the money they save to replace his pass-rush production. If they are willing to open up the checkbook, Jadeveon Clowney would be one of the best options on the open market to replace the void left by Lawrence’s potential departure.