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    Is 2017 DE DeMarcus Lawrence’s Last Year in Dallas?

    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.

    DeMarcus Lawrence
    DE DeMarcus Lawrence (James D. Smith/)

    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 and should be a first-ballot 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 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 . Lawrence notoriously scooped up a fumble forced by 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 to force another fumble and recovered it himself to seal the victory.

    DeMarcus Lawrence
    DE DeMarcus Lawrence

    Other than that playoff performance, Lawrence's rookie year wasn't very inspiring. He missed nine games with injuries and didn't record any in the regular season. However, it's important to remember that he'd missed most of and all of the , plus nine weeks of practice, with a foot .

    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 , 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 and for playing time, plus 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?

    DeMarcus Lawrence
    DE DeMarcus Lawrence

    Granted, we have no idea where Dallas is right now on re- DeMarcus Lawrence. There's no question that he has the talent to be the best 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.

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    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 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.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    2 COMMENTS

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    I'm Okay w La'el @ RT

    I don’t think effort has ever been DLaw’s issue, so I think the concerns about ‘contract year’ effort are valid

    Travis Diggs

    I hate to put Lawrence in that ” Claiborne” category but his injury history puts the bulls eye on him, making this a show me year. If he gets outplayed by Taco, Tapper, and Mayowa then What else is their to do I hope he shows up this year, he has the skill set , but that back injury has slowed down his career thus far


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