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The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on a new contract that will create more room under the salary cap, a person with knowledge of the agreement said Monday.
Lawrence's reworked deal is worth $40 million over three years with $30 million guaranteed, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there has been no announcement.
The best hope for the Cowboys to keep both Lawrence and unrestricted free agent Randy Gregory was to reduce Lawrence's cap hit. The original $27 million figure from the five-year, $105 million deal he signed in 2019 has been cut about in half.
Lawrence signed the big contract after back-to-back seasons with double-digit sacks. Those are the only two such years of his career. Lawrence was limited to seven games last season after breaking a foot in practice the week after the opener.
The Cowboys have been busy with cap maneuvers in free agency. The new deal with Lawrence comes two days after Dallas traded receiver Amari Cooper to Cleveland, a move that saved $16 million in cap space.
Dallas re-signed receiver Michael Gallup on a $62.5 million, five-year deal. Trying to keep Gregory is the next significant issue.
While Lawrence has been a leader of the Dallas pass rush and a focal point for defenses, the oft-suspended Gregory had a productive and drama-free 2021 season. The Cowboys are hoping for a discount after standing by Gregory through issues that plagued his first four seasons.
If the Cowboys can keep Gregory, the most important parts of Dan Quinn's unit will return for the defensive coordinator's second season. NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons is the centerpiece as a pass-rushing linebacker.
Lawrence has 48 1/2 sacks in eight seasons, but is coming off his fewest in five seasons with just three in 2021. The broken foot ended a stretch of four consecutive years in which he appeared in every regular-season game.