It is unlikely that Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and the team will reach a deal by the deadline of July 16 at 4 p.m. ET of signing franchised players, said reports from a pair of unnamed NFL sources.
If the Cowboys and Lawrence do not reach a deal, the defensive end, who is 26, would then be on schedule to be a free agent following the season.
Lawrence had his breakout season in 2017 when he recorded 14.5 quarterback sacks, which were a career high, and was named to the NFL Pro Bowl. He had only a total of nine sacks for his NFL career at the start of the 2017 season, but was also limited by back and foot injuries, and suspension during his first three seasons.
Lawrence will earn $17.14 million with the franchise tag. In 2014, as the second pick by the Cowboys in the NFL draft he signed a deal worth $5.3 million. He therefore, is set to earn over triple his total career earnings under the franchise tag for 2018.
If Lawrence can post another season of double-digit quarterback sacks, Dallas could place the tag on him again in 2019, but at a price of likely $20 million if the team and player could not reach an agreement on a long-term deal.
Dallas prior to this year with Lawrence has not used the franchise tag since 2015 with Dez Bryant. While that year, Bryant missed most of the team’s offseason program, most people at the time felt a long-term contract would be reached before the tag deadline.
It came down to the final few minutes, but the team and Bryant eventually reached a deal on a five-year contract for $70 million after three consecutive seasons with at least 88 receptions, 1,234 yards and 12 touchdowns between 2012 and 2014.
However, the same felling of optimism has not been present with Lawrence. The team and David Canter, who is the agent representing Lawrence, spoke during the scouting combine, but soon after sources said it was clear a deal would not be reached before the franchise tag would have to be placed on Lawrence.
Since shortly after the scouting combines both parties have been completely silent and that is likely to continue through the end of the deadline.