It’s no secret DeMarcus Lawrence had his best season as a Dallas Cowboy in 2017. Lawrence finished with 14.5 sacks (led the team and ranked third in the NFL) and four forced fumbles (led the team and tied for fourth in the NFL). More importantly for himself, he was rewarded with a 2017 Associated Press Second Team All-Pro award on Friday, along with some of the best players around the NFL.
As I mentioned above, the Cowboys’ fourth-year edge rusher had his best year in by far his most important year as a player in the National Football League.
At the conclusion of the 2017 season, Lawrence — along with many other players — is set to be a free agent. Luckily for DeMarcus, he plays a position heralded as one of the most important positions on the football field. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they will have to open up their checkbooks if they want to bring him back in 2018.
To put it in perspective for you, Olivier Vernon is the top-paid defensive end in all of football. He signed a 5-year, $85,000,000 contract with the New York Giants in 2016, including a $20,000,000 signing bonus, $52,500,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,000,000.
Before signing that contract with the Giants, Vernon had produced 21.5 sacks in four seasons (64 games) with Miami. DeMarcus Lawrence has produced 23.5 sacks in four seasons with Dallas, but has only played in 48 games due to injury and suspension.
Why am I comparing the two, you might ask:
- DeMarcus Lawrence and his agent will likely use Vernon’s contract to set a starting point for negotiations to begin. Lawrence’s side will certainly compare the production to the amount of games played, and the Cowboys’ side will bring up the injury history and suspension. When #90 isn’t on the field, the Cowboys’ defense isn’t anywhere as scary as with him on it. I’m sure Jerry and Stephen Jones will push that in an attempt to lower his price tag.
- The second reason I am comparing the two, and this is NOT good news for the Dallas Cowboys, is that both Olivier Vernon and DeMarcus Lawrence share the same agent — DEC Management.
While every signing is a case-by-case scenario, this one may not fall in the Cowboys’ favor.
While injuries and a suspension have kept Lawrence off the field, when on the field, he has been a much more disruptive player than Vernon. DeMarcus and his agent, David Canter, both know if the Cowboys aren’t willing to pay the price for Lawrence’s services, another team most certainly will.
Luckily for the Cowboys, they do have the option to franchise tag DeMarcus Lawrence if they can’t get a long-term deal done.
A franchise tag would put him on the field for the Cowboys’ in 2018, but would cost the team somewhere around 17-million dollars. For both sides, it makes more sense to try to get an extension done before we get to Oxnard, California in July.
It will be very interesting to see how these negotiations play out, as both sides have plenty of arguments to get the price tag where they feel comfortable signing a long-term deal.
The big questions to be asked are still, how much does DeMarcus Lawrence want to stay in Dallas, and how much effect will his agent have on negotiations? We may find out sooner rather than later.