Should Cowboys Consider Trading DE DeMarcus Lawrence? ⋆
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Should Cowboys Consider Trading DE DeMarcus Lawrence?

DeMarcus Lawrence Credits DT Maliek Collins For Early Season Dominance 1

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Should Cowboys Consider Trading DE DeMarcus Lawrence?

Should Cowboys Consider Trading DE DeMarcus Lawrence?

One of the biggest surprises for the Dallas Cowboys through the first five games of the 2017 season is the performance of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. He is playing the best football of his entire NFL career and his stock has never been higher. That is why I’ve been wondering if the Cowboys should consider trading him.

Now, before all of you call for my tar and feathering, let me try to explain myself.

DeMarcus Lawrence has been on a tear through the first five weeks of the 2017 season and is leading the NFL with 8.5 quarterback sacks. He has more sacks already this season than he had in his previous three seasons in the league. He is exactly the dominant “War Daddy” pass rusher the Cowboys have been looking for.

Despite how impressive he has already been this season, we have to face cold hard facts. DeMarcus Lawrence is in a contract year and will become a free agent after the completion of the 2017 season. He has already likely played himself out of the Cowboys price range, so why not try to trade him to a contender and receive some kind of compensation before he walks away.

DE DeMarcus Lawrence

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

We have to be completely honest with ourselves. DeMarcus Lawrence probably isn’t in the Dallas Cowboys long-term plans for a few reasons. First off, it is going to take a large chunk of change to sign him to a contract extension and the Cowboys already have to re-sign Zack Martin. Secondly, there is always that fear that Lawrence’s back problems will flare up once again.

It’s easy to forget with the way Lawrence has been playing this season that he has already had two back surgeries in his NFL career. Back injuries are some of the worst things that can happen to anybody, especially professional athletes. They are difficult to recover from and seem to recur at the drop of a hat.

Just last season we saw yet another back injury pretty much end the career of Tony Romo. If you need more evidence, just look at J.J. Watt. He never returned to his dominance after his back injuries, which is why I believe the Cowboys would be wise to err on the side of caution with DeMarcus Lawrence.

I know it’s a little premature to suggest the Cowboys even consider trading DeMarcus Lawrence, but you kind of have to strike while the iron is hot. I fully understand there is a lot of games to play, but if the Cowboys defense continues on this path, it is unlikely they make the playoffs.

DeMarcus Lawrence Credits DT Maliek Collins For Early Season Dominance

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Losing DeMarcus Lawrence would certainly be a big blow to the Cowboys defense, but it might be worth it if they could get a 2018 3rd or possibly a 2nd draft pick in return. I think that’s what it would take for the Cowboys to consider trading him, but as always, you have to find a team willing to give up that kind of compensation.

Personally, I would absolutely be on board with the Dallas Cowboys trading away DeMarcus Lawrence if they can receive a relatively high 2018 draft pick. Their defense is in the middle of a rebuild and higher drafted players have the more likelihood of succeeding.

I really think this is highly unlikely to happen, but it is one of those things that could possibly be discussed during the Cowboys bye week among the brass. I would never say never, but again, highly unlikely. It only takes one team to make an offer the Cowboys can’t refuse.

Should Cowboys consider trading DeMarcus Lawrence?

Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

41 Comments
  • Jess Haynie

    Brian, you ignorant slut!

    Actually, this is a valid conversation to be having given the circumstances. You’ll see some people throw out the idea of simply franchising Lawrence to avoid the concerns about a long-term deal, but that’s going to be about $17 million for one season. The Cowboys likely can’t afford that while they’re still paying Tony Romo’s ghost and trying to get Zack Martin’s long-term deal done.

    It’s so hard, though, to imagine letting a great pass rusher walk away after all of the crap we’ve gone through waiting for one to emerge. Even with the legitimate concerns you raised, I think Dallas finds a way to get it done and keep DeMarcus around.

    • Brian Martin

      If the Cowboys do work out a contract extension, they better make sure to protect themselves. To me, his 2 back surgeries are a huge red flag and I think it will be a problem in the near future. Pass rushers are usually only good 5-7 years before breaking down anyway.

      • Michael Barthel

        Which makes it easier for us to sign him. Think about other teams are thinking the same way. So maybe he doesn’t get a huge contract and decides to stick around with Dallas

    • DevilDog58

      I hope (and think) the ignorant slut comment was a joke. I would really hate to see Lawrence walk also but, as I stated below from personal experience, once you have a back problem it never goes away. Plus the fact that he’s in a contract year and how many times have we seen a player in that situation have a great year only to come back the next year and look like he doesn’t give a crap about wins and losses once he gets paid big bucks? If he had a great track record like say, he’d been healthy each year and steadily gotten better it would be totally different. If we do keep him I hope he stays healthy and turns out to have a huge heart and an unquenchable thirst for winning. Kind of like Sean Lee. He’s been off injured but there’s no doubt when he’s healthy we’re going to get everything he’s got. Speaking of him, when he’s injured it REALLY exposes what a weak D we have. We need at least 7 or 8 players of his caliber on our D, then we’d have a great team. I believe the O will be fine but we need a great D to be a SB contender. Philly figured it out.

      • Brian Martin

        It was definitely a joke. Jess is a fellow Staff Writer here at ITS. I’m personally torn about what to do with Lawrence. I just don’t know if he is a cornerstone fixture on the defense. That mostly has to do with his back issues. I just don’t feel comfortable investing a lot of money and someone that already has a proven track record of back issues. I feel much more comfortable continued to build to the draft and then sign your players who have no issues.

        • DevilDog58

          Yes, I agree. I’m kinda worried about Elliott now. Even though I think he’s getting screwed with the upcoming suspension from what I’ve seen, he has shown some poor judgement since the initial (alleged) incident. He needs to grow up in a hurry.

  • Charles

    Wow Brian!!! Five games into the season and you have thrown in the towel. I’m still a believer despite being let down year after year. We should get Lee back next week and that will improve the defense immensely. I truly believe that we win the Rams and Packers game with him on the field. So no we shouldn’t even consider trading DLaw.

    • Brian Martin

      I haven’t thrown the towel in yet. But, if the Cowboys lose a couple more games, it would mean they aren’t making the playoffs this season. In that case, I would absolutely be on board trading Lawrence.

  • nick

    No way, if he keeps playing like this, he gets 12 plus sacks and he stays healthy going into the offseason we have to figure out how to tag him.

    • Brian Martin

      Lawrence’s two back surgeries already in his young NFL career are a huge red flag for me. Back injuries have a way of coming back to haunt players and I just think it would be a mistake to invest a lot of money in him because of that.

      • Ray Lars

        DO NOT TRADE OUR BEST PASS RUSHER. Red flag or not until he gets injured, if again at all, we worry about it then. We still have two yrs left of Randy Gregory to see about, if theyre not keeping him then you definitely keep D Law

        • Brian Martin

          Risking big money on a player that has had two back surgeries is the quickest way to get back into salary cap purgatory. The only way I want to see him re-signed is if it is to a contract that protects the Cowboys in case of injury or suspension. It’s doubtful that Lawrence will agree to such a contract though.

          • Michael Barthel

            Jerry and Garrett are ruining this team. If you keep paying bargain contracts you are going to get bargain players which means they are just not that good. Heath is terrible. Corners can’t stay healthy. Every year they let decent/good players go to sign players that aren’t very good. Example Nolan Carroll and Cedric Thornton. When will Jerry and Stephen finally realize to create a great defense you need to draft well and spend money. You win alot more games with a great defense than you do a great offense. Proof Denver and Seattle. Yes Lewis awuzie Jones Smith Lawrence Collins brown are all promising young draft picks but we need some veteran free agents mixed in there.

          • Michael Barthel

            Also instead of taking Byron Jones I would of taken Landon Collins with the 27th pick. He has had a much better career to this point than Jones and is a better safety.

          • Brian Martin

            I don’t disagree that Collins has had the better career so far, but Byron Jones is vastly underrated for what he does for the Cowboys defense. Jones is much better in coverage, but unfortunately hasn’t been able to get his hands on the ball like Collins. Collins also has the added benefit of having better player surrounding him.

          • E Deplorabus Unum

            Yeah but how far can he long jump???

          • Brian Martin

            The Cowboys have had to sign bargain free agents because of the salary cap purgatory they were in due to signing aging big money players. They are doing the things the right way and building through the draft, but it is going to take time. All of the names you mentioned are starting caliber players that will be the foundation. It is always better to sign your own FAs instead of what is on the market. Those players on the market are there for a reason. I just don’t know if Lawrence should be one of those players the Cowboys should extend. His back injuries are a huge red flag for me.

          • Michael Barthel

            I get not giving Lawrence a huge contract but I think it’s mainly because everytime a player signs a huge contract their play def goes downhill like they don’t care anymore. Dez Bryant for example. Albert haynesworth another I could go on and on. We need some quality pass rushers though and if I was Jerry I would be signing Navarro Bowman to run with his old college teammate Sean Lee also in case lee gets injured. Dallas needs to keep its salary cap in good shape we are pretty decent right now but we need playmakers and proven veterans on this team that can make a difference. We are so lost on defense when Sean Lee is out. 35 points to green bay and rams. They also gashed us for 160 plus rushing yards. When lee was on the field we got gashed 1 out of the 3 games he was playing. Defense played great against new York and Arizona. I think it was because they have bad offenses but you wouldn’t think that though with Marshall and engram being added to giants. Arizona still has good players without Johnson even though he is the heart and soul of that team. Just saying we need insurance and bowman fits that bill that could help us if lee isn’t there. I just don’t trust Hitchens he is a good reason why packers got back into the game. We need help on the defense. Heath should not be starting. Smith should play here n there on snaps. Brown is getting torched every week. It’s just looking very bad. Marinelli is probably done after this season. Garrett should be too if we finish 8-8 or worse. That would be his 4th 8-8 since taking over in 2010. He has what 2 winning seasons under his belt. Not a great coach if you ask me. Should stay an offensive coordinator where he shined.

          • Brian Martin

            I agree with you about Bowman. Sean Lee is getting older and often injured, Jaylon Smith hopefully just needs time to get up to speed and develop more, and Anthony Hitchens is in a contract year. Adding Bowman would help solidify the MLB position and not force the Cowboys into having to draft one early next year.

            I also agree with you about Marinelli. Unfortunately, I think the game may have passed him by. He is a great teacher and motivator, but his scheme is out of date.

          • Michael Barthel

            I think marinelli puts his players in a very bad spot every week. I mean instead of getting players that are proven we always get players that no one has ever heard of. I’ve been a die hard cowboys fan for 20 plus years. We haven’t had a top 10 defense since the early 2000s. We need to get back to that if we want to have a shot at another ring. That’s exactly why Romo didn’t win a ring they never gave him any help on the defensive side of the ball. If they want dak to win give him help on the defense. To have leads 11 and 15 point leads and give them up is bad very bad. Denver Seattle or Carolina would not. Linehan play calling as well def needs questioned. I think we should of kept Garrett as offensive coordinator and moved wade Phillips from head coach to defensive coordinator and just hired a new coach in 2010. 2 winning seasons and 1 or 2 playoff victories is not good to be head coach for 8 seasons so far. I understand you can only pay so many players and keep so many but look at the rams defense they still have 62 million in cap space and have signed ogletree brockers Quinn and Barron to extensions and have a good young offense built through draft. Dallas has a great offense just need another guard maybe a replacement at receiver depending on how Noah Brown develops. I think we need to play Brice butler more and sit Williams. Draft a guard linebacker wide receiver safety and we would be set. Draft for the defense now since the offense is great. There is growing pains this year but white Lewis brown woods Jones awuzie and Frazier make a good secondary. I don’t know I just want our defense back to when we had Darren woodson and Roy Williams and dat Nguyen

          • DevilDog58

            Not sure about Marinelli. Might be nice if we could find a young, hungry DC. Either way, I am all for Bowman. We definitely need some quality experience on the D. Jaylon is not only trying to catch up but he’s also not 100% yet either. Hopefully when he is, he’ll return to the form he had in college. I really believe that the way Dallas is building through the draft is the way to go, along with sprinkling in some QUALITY additional players when possible. But I think Garrett should be retained. If they decide to let him go then I hope they go after a HC like Jim Harbaugh. Aggressive and Instant playoffs, IMO.

          • Brian Martin

            If the Cowboys decide to move on from Marinelli, I would love to see Matt Eberflus as their new DC. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but he is the current linebackers coach for the Cowboys. I think he might just be exactly what they need. I think he is a perfect blend of aggressiveness due to his time coaching with Rob Ryan and conservativeness because of his time with Marinelli.

            I also like JG as the HC, but wouldn’t be surprised if he is let go. I don’t think Jim Harbaugh really wants to come back to the NFL, but it’s not a bad idea. If I was going to hire a college coach I would inquire about Stanford’s HC David Shaw.

          • DevilDog58

            No, I’m not familiar with Coach Eberflus. No offense but I’m not sure our LB coach could be considered doing a good job since without Lee our LB Corps looks like crap. Of course I don’t know how much of that is due to coaching and how much is due to our other Lbers. I do hope and believe that if Jaylon Smith gets completely healthy he will become a dominant LB. At Notre Dame he flew all over the field making plays and would have been a top 10 pick had he not been injured. I just pray he’s able to get back to full health. In the Secondary I still think we need another playmaker to compliment Jones. I also agree he’s under-rated but he needs help. Heath is a Special Teamer at best.

        • DevilDog58

          Yeah, I think Gregory is done. He can’t be trusted or relied on so I believe he’s finished in Dallas.

  • Hobbes49

    I don’t feel like this team can afford to get rid of a bonafide pass rusher. Took us forever to find one, and this defense needs all the help it can get. I get your point, and the money could be scary, but slogging around with just a bunch of nothing special guys at D-end is not enticing at all.

    • Brian Martin

      Lawrence has really only had one good year production. The rest of the time he’s either been injured or suspended. I just think it would be a mistake to give someone that has already had two back surgeries a lot of money. Back injuries have a way of coming back to haunt players. I think they need to continue to build the draft.

      • Hobbes49

        I agree back issues can be a long term problem (I work for a chiropractor, so know all about it) That having been said, if Lawrence stays healthy this entire season I think you have to take a shot and keep him. He, Collins, and Irving give this team a shot to be an elite D-line in next season or two.

        • Brian Martin

          Lawrence’s back issues really scare me to be honest. I’m not against giving him an extension, but the Cowboys would be wise to come up with a contract that protects them in the case the worst happens. They can’t afford to hand out a big money contract that comes back to bite them.

          • Hobbes49

            I would agree with that. That has certainly happened to them before. I am torn, because a healthy Lawrence could be a force for awhile, and a major piece of a championship level defense, which we are hopefully slowly building, present results notwithstanding. Tough call, I must admit.

          • Brian Martin

            Agreed. Nearly everybody believes that I’m trying to ship Lawrence off, but there is no easy answer right now. There is the possibility he is finally showing what he can do when healthy, but of the other hand he is at risk of injuring his back again. I just can’t justify giving him a big money contract based on that unfortunately.

  • Russ_Te

    Putting aside the back and cap concerns, you can assess this purely on what the future looks like at LDE, and who needs a pass rusher right now to win their conference.

    If Lawrence retired right now, you’re solid at LDE with Irving and Taco. If you can rob someone of a 1st & 4th rounder, two 2nd rounders, etc – then it’s probably a go. A 2 & a 3 right now is low IMO.

    • Brian Martin

      Very well stated. That’s exactly the way I’m thinking. I know the Dallas Cowboys need to invest on the defensive side of the ball, but I don’t think Lawrence is necessarily that guy. Every time he gets up cringing, I think it’s his back again. I don’t want to live through that every game with him making an absurd amount of money.

    • Nelson Cobb

      Nobody is paying a 1st, much less a 1st and 4th. Nobody is paying two 2nd rounders either. Nobody is even paying a 2nd and 3rd, what you believe is low. You’re buying half a season, not even a full year. Chandler Jones, established himself as one of the leagues best edge rushers over a few years, no injury concerns and a full year in return for Arizona, and that only got NE a late 2nd and a lottery ticket who was likely getting cut anyway. Nobody is gonna pay more than that for half a season of Lawrence. Probably won’t even be able to get a 2nd rounder out of him, more likely an early to mid 3rd is probably the best Dallas would get for half a season of a guy with a questionable injury history and likely looking at a monster contract because he’s performing like he never has in a contract year. Just saying.

      • Brian Martin

        That’s pretty much what I stated in the article. I would honestly except a 3rd for him if the Cowboys lose a few more games and are out of playoff contention.

      • Russ_Te

        It all depends on “now” need, and who can be fleeced. It’s been known to happen. If I can’t get a king’s ransom for Lawrence, with trade deadline being around early November, I’ll keep him in hopes the team plays itself into contention this year.

        Then we’d just have to see what his FA value is in the offseason & go from there.

        • DevilDog58

          Agreed.

      • DevilDog58

        I agree with what you’re saying, Nelson. Getting anything higher than a Third Rounder for a player with back injury concerns is really just wishful thinking. And since he’ll more than likely be a FA after this season makes him even a tougher sell. If a team felt like they could get the rest of the season out of him, plus that his back looks FULLY healed and they were just one pass rusher away from going deep into the playoffs (and most likely a SB) then we might find a trade partner. That’s way too many stars to align, IMO. More than likely he’ll have a great season for us and his retention price will be way too high for us. I just hope Taco develops (or the coaching staff learns where he plays best) and in the next draft we keep stocking our D with quality talent. We STILL need another Safety who can dominate deep sideline to sideline or, at the very least, come up and stuff a RB. I like Jones but he can’t help on both sides and Heath is no Starter as he’s frequently out of position. We also BADLY need a Offensive block eating DT (NOT a puny Under-Tackle) and another very good LB would really help (I think J. Smith will be a beast once he’s fully healthy). Jones and Co. have to keep us out of Salary Cap hell so we can draft two of these players and possibly sign the third through FA. Putting the Tag on a DE with back injuries would be the wrong move, so we know Jerry will want to go that route. Hopefully Stephen takes control of that situation. Maybe Lawrence will turn out to be a man of high character and help out the team who believed (and paid) in him through all his injuries and will take a fair contract that pays him well based on his playing time and health (but I doubt it ).

  • EverybodyTalks

    Why not go the other way? Wouldn’t it be feasible to backload Martin’s contract? The lifespan of an O-lineman is usually longer than most players and that gives Dallas the opportunity to put the franchise tag on DLaw? I have all the same concerns with 2 back surgeries. If Jerry is anything, he is a salesman. It’s a possibility that DLaw is that War Daddy. Make him prove it and use the tag to find out.

    • Brian Martin

      Back loading Martin’s contract is a possibility, but there is still always the risk of that backfiring. The Cowboys have been much better managing their money, so I don’t know what they would do that. And honestly, I really don’t know what to do about Lawrence. I hate to sign him to a long-term contract because of his back problems and using the franchise tag would cost about $17 million a year. It’s definitely going to be a tough decision, which is why I’m leaning towards trying to trade him.

  • DevilDog58

    I actually see the validity of trading Lawrence if a trading partner can be found. As you stated, back issues are tough to come back from for anyone but especially for a football player. I was a Physical Training Instructor in the Marines and was in outstanding physical condition but recurrent back injuries forced me into an early retirement. I worked my butt off to get back to the same physical condition I had built myself into through hours and hours of hard weight training, running, other cardiovascular and diet. I was even able to come back to 100% full duty 3 months early with all the hard work but my spine failed me again and I am retired and in constant pain. So I say try and get what we can for Lawrence since we’ll lose him anyway.

    • Brian Martin

      Unfortunately, I agree with you. I hate that the Cowboys finally have somebody that can get after the QB, but the back problems are a serious red flag. Also, thanks for sharing your personal story. It really helps provide support that the Cowboys should at least consider trading Lawrence.

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