Cowboys reportedly made enormous new offer to DeMarcus Lawrence, but sides still at 'impasse'
Dallas Cowboys brass have long said that signing pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence to a contract extension is a top offseason priority.
And Lawrence has long said that he has no intention of playing a second straight season on the franchise tag.
The two sides have been talking, but haven’t yet come to an agreement. What’s going on?
‘We’re at an impasse’
Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones discussed negotiations with Calvin Watkins of The Athletic Dallas on Tuesday from the NFL spring meetings.
“Right now, the best way to describe it is we’re at an impasse,” Jones said. “We’re apart. But certainly optimistic. No one thinks more of DeMarcus Lawrence than we do. He represents what we want on our football team, in terms of the way he plays the game. He certainly plays it at a high level. We’ll continue to chop wood.”
Citing multiple sources, Watkins reports that the gap between the Cowboys and Lawrence is only widening, as the 26-year-old has increased his financial demand, upping his ask from $20 million per year to $22.5 million per.
Dallas has increased its offer
Watkins further reports that in recent weeks Dallas has increased its offer, and his sources indicate the Cowboys would be willing to agree to a six-year, $120 million offer.
Not in the report, however, is how much of that would be guaranteed. As with almost all NFL contracts, the devil is in the details. There are player contracts throughout history that look great in headlines, but upon further review are really just two- or three-year pacts.
Since he was franchised in 2018, Lawrence’s franchise tag amount for 2019 would be $20.5 million, or 120 percent of last year’s $17.5 million salary. Lawrence made the Pro Bowl again last year, even playing through a partially torn labrum.
However, Lawrence is delaying surgery to fix that injury while waiting to see how his contract situation plays out, which seems petty and counter-productive.
‘Not going to draw any lines in the sand’
Jones, at least to media, isn’t taking a hard stand, and still seems open to working out something with Lawrence, who has 25 sacks over the last two seasons.
“We’re going to continue to try to move the ball forward and see if there is some common ground we can find,” Jones said. “I’m certainly not going to draw any lines in the sand, and we haven’t. No bright lines so far. We’ve just been apart. Hopefully, we can continue to come up with some creative ways to maybe create some common ground.”
Teams have until mid-July to reach a long-term contract agreement with franchised players. But Jones sounds like he’d rather get things done sooner.
“We’re motivated to do it right now. We were motivated to do it before we put the tag on him,” Jones said. “At the same time, we have some conviction of the range he should be in, in terms of his compensation and I’m sure they have some conviction of what they’re asking for. I’m not being critical, but therein lies the root of the negotiations.”
Lawrence, Watkins wrote, believes his contract should fall between the $141 million contract Khalil Mack signed with the Chicago Bears last summer, and the $114.5 million Von Miller and the Denver Broncos agreed to in 2016.
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