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Is This Cowboys Defensive End Due for a Big Year?

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Cowboys Blog - My Ideal Offseason

Ahhhhh... Training Camp is here, and football is in the air. Your 2017 Dallas Cowboys have taken the field and will begin practicing to try to repeat as NFC East Champions and return to the playoffs to potentially make a run at the Lombardi trophy. 

In order to do so the pass rush has to improve, and the Cowboys' front office spent more resources this offseason trying to find that difference maker to get after the quarterback.

Cowboys Nation has very high expectations for first round pick, Taco Charlton, and Damontre Moore has been making a ton of noise this offseason, but one player who is moving along rather quietly is fourth year player, DeMarcus Lawrence.

Demarcus Lawrence, Vikings

DeMarcus Lawrence is entering his fourth year with the team and is looking to finally put together a productive, and healthy season.

After the Cowboys traded up in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Lawrence has played in only 32 of 48 playable games. In those 32 games, he has brought down opposing quarterbacks a total of nine times and eight of those nine total sacks came in his promising 2014 season.

There would be no argument if anyone would say Lawrence has been a disappointment so far in his short NFL career. Whether it's due to low sack numbers or because of injury, the word disappointment fairly surrounds DeMarcus Lawrence's name.

But the past is the past, and all that matters is what happens now, and for DeMarcus Lawrence good news is already coming his way.

Monday on 105.3 The Fan, Stephen Jones talked about his health entering camp.

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This is fantastic news for the team heading into camp.

Now we have been lied to before so there is reason to pump the brakes just a little bit, but at this time last year Lawrence was recovering from offseason back surgery. We were also learning about the possible four game suspension that he was facing after failing a drug test.

With a lot of young and new faces along the defensive line, Lawrence is one of the few veteran players in the defensive meeting rooms. While he is one of the few veterans that doesn't mean he is locked in to be a day-one starter.

Entering 2017 he has plenty of competition on both sides of the line. Taco Charlton, Benson Mayowa, Damontre Moore, Tyrone Crawford, and Charles Tapper will all battle for a starting spot at either defensive end position.

Cowboys Headlines - Reel Talk: Could DeMarcus Lawrence Fill the Cowboys Void at Right Defensive End? 2

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence #90 (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

What does Lawrence have on his side to help him earn back is starting job?

  • His health - If he is 100% healthy--like Stephen Jones told us Monday--Lawrence should be in good shape to earn a starting spot by the time training camp is over.
  • Contract Year - We have consistently seen over the last few seasons how good some players play in contract years. For Lawrence, after the 2017 season, he will be a free agent and the Cowboys will have to make a tough decision on his future with the team.
  • Position Flex - Lawrence has played all along the defensive line, even rushing as a defensive tackle on some third down situations in his three years with the team.
  • Veteran - Defensive end is one of the hardest positions to transition to from College to the NFL. Taco Charlton and Charles Tapper may start off slow and that could also help Lawrence's chances to start at left or right end.

We are still so early into training camp, so there are still plenty of questions surrounding the Dallas Cowboys pass rush, but the question still needs to be brought to our attention.

Do you think DeMarcus Lawrence will have a big season to end his rookie deal?

I certainly do.



Born in 1995, loved Football but more importantly the Dallas Cowboys since day one. Living in Redskins Country flying the Blue and Silver flag as high as possible. Covering the Dallas Cowboys for InsideTheStar.com and CowboysNation.com. Catch me on twitter @ConnorNFLDraft!

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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?

Sean Martin

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Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster? 2
(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.

This group includes Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, KD Cannon, Mekale McCay, and Marchie Murdock.

The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.

One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.

Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.

What Happens if WR Allen Hurns Doesn't Pan Out?

Dallas Cowboys WR Deonte Thompson, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.

This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.

Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.

Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.

Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make Cowboys Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Noah Brown (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.

It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.

Tell us what you think about "Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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