Players with expiring contracts are always a point of interest. For 2017 Cowboys in contract years, none is a bigger name than defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. What will Lawrence need to do to earn a new deal in Dallas?
Expectations have always been high for Lawrence. Dallas gave up a third-round pick in 2014 to move up and take him with the 34th overall pick. If that wasn't enough, the Cowboys franchise sack leader had been released just a few months earlier and they had the same first name.
Indeed, the transition from "D-Ware" to "D-Law" perhaps set the bar unfairly for Lawrence. Ware wasn't just the Cowboys' sack leader but is eighth all-time in NFL history and should be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. You can keep drafting guys in the top five of the draft and not find another DeMarcus Ware.
That said, Lawrence was still a borderline first-round talent and that comes with its own expectations. His first three years in Dallas have seen flashes of potential but ultimate disappointment, with injuries and a suspension playing a part.
At his best, DeMarcus has proven to be a game-changer. This was never more evident than in the Cowboys' 2014 playoff game against the Detroit Lions. Lawrence notoriously scooped up a fumble forced by Anthony Spencer and then got stripped himself, giving the ball back to the Lions. In one of the great redemption moments of recent memory, he was able to sack Matthew Stafford to force another fumble and recovered it himself to seal the victory.
Other than that playoff performance, Lawrence's rookie year wasn't very inspiring. He missed nine games with injuries and didn't record any sacks in the regular season. However, it's important to remember that he'd missed most of training camp and all of the preseason, plus nine weeks of practice, with a foot injury.
In 2015, Lawrence began to look like consistent playmaker. He has seven sacks in Dallas' final eight games and had you thinking he'd really arrived. Unfortunately, a four-game suspension to start the year and back issues throughout the season limited DeMarcus to just nine total games. He never looked right even when on the field and had just one sack in 2016.
Dallas used their 2017 first-round pick on DE Taco Charlton, who is ideally suited to play the same strong-side end position that Lawrence is also built for. Some have taken this as a sign that the Cowboys have no plans to re-sign DeMarcus after his contract expires this year.
Lawrence also be challenged by the returning Benson Mayowa and David Irving for playing time, plus Charles Tapper after his redshirt season. It also begs the question: how much will the Cowboys want to invest snaps in DeMarcus if he's not part of their future plans?
Granted, we have no idea where Dallas is right now on re-signing DeMarcus Lawrence. There's no question that he has the talent to be the best defense end on this roster. If Lawrence can put together a great year, he may force his way into a new contract even if he's not in the team's current plans.
Still, even if DeMarcus goes off in 2017, there will be cause for concern. Plenty of players have duped teams into giving them big money because they gave extra effort in a contract year. Dallas went through some of this a few years back with the aforementioned Anthony Spencer, who even admitted that he didn't give the same effort in younger years as he did when his contract was running out.
The best scenario for the Cowboys is if the younger guys like Charlton, Irving, and Tapper can emerge this year. They can either let Lawrence walk or, at least, have the leverage if they decide they want to negotiate a new contract.
That scenario would also mean that DeMarcus had a good year, which only helps Dallas now in 2017. Whether it earns him a new deal with the Cowboys or some other team next season, Dallas is trying to win a championship right now and an improved pass rush is vital to that goal.
Will DeMarcus Lawrence contribute to the Cowboys' success in 2017? Will his contribution be enough to earn a new contract? Like everything else, we'll have to wait and see.
Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys
It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.
WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys
This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.
While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.
What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?
Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?
Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?
Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?
All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.
Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.
Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.
What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?
What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position
UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live.
Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.
However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.
This week, they even signed one.
Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.
He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.
His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.
But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.
According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.
Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room. https://t.co/Ivt5uk9kBN
It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.
Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.
Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.
It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.
They'd possibly have to decide among these:
- Dez Bryant
- Terrrance Williams
- Cole Beasley
- Ryan Switzer
- Allen Hurns
- Deonte Thompson
- Noah Brown
- A drafted rookie?
This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract.
Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.
Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.
As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
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