The Dallas Cowboy may have hit star Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence with another franchise tag in 2019, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still talk to the other 31 NFL teams. As we get ready for the start of free agency next week, let’s quick clarify exactly what Lawrence’s status is with the Cowboys and the rest of the league.
There are two types of franchise tags; “exclusive” and “non-exclusive.” With slightly different forms of computing a player’s compensation, these decide whether or not a player has the right to negotiate with other teams during the free agency period.
As you likely knew already, teams can make offers to franchise-tagged free agents. If they agree on a contract, the players’ previous team has the right to either match that offer or receive two first-round picks in compensation from the new team.
Given this, the non-exclusive tag is used far more often. Teams may want to keep those players, but the possibility of getting those draft picks is hard to ignore. They like to leave both options open, as the Cowboys have done the last two years now with DeMarcus Lawrence.
That said, sometimes these situations end with far less compensation for the previous team. Last year, the Dolphins tagged WR Jarvis Landry but then ultimately traded him to the Browns for two picks in the fourth and seventh rounds.
Dallas certainly won’t accept that little in return for one of the league’s premiere pass rushers. What the Cowboys would want in draft picks will likely be more than another team would be willing to give up.
As we’ve seen far more often than not, even the non-exclusive franchise tag keeps players locked in with their current team. Despite all the posturing and proclamations that we hear right now, the two sides usually figure things out by the start of the new year.
Still, it’s worth noting that DeMarcus Lawrence has the ability to talk to the rest of the league. It sets up a way that he could leave the Cowboys, but perhaps get Dallas something back in return.