Cowboys to franchise tag star DE DeMarcus Lawrence again

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/dallas/" data-ylk="slk:Dallas Cowboys">Dallas Cowboys</a> defensive end <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/27562/" data-ylk="slk:DeMarcus Lawrence">DeMarcus Lawrence</a> (90) will get the franchise tag for a second straight year. (AP)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (90) will get the franchise tag for a second straight year. (AP)

Once reports started coming in over the weekend that the Dallas Cowboys and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence weren’t close on a contract, it was clear what would happen next.

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Lawrence is going to get another franchise tag from the Cowboys, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said. It will be expensive, but at least Lawrence won’t be unrestricted when free agency begins next week.

The Cowboys might have to now worry about a holdout, like Le’Veon Bell last season, if a long-term deal can’t be worked out over the next few months. Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Lawrence won’t sign the franchise tag, preferring to sit out if a long-term deal can’t be reached.

DeMarcus Lawrence’s second franchise tag is more than $20 million

Last year, Lawrence’s franchise tag was $17.1 million. This year, that rises to about $20.5 million.

It would seem crazy for Lawrence to turn down more than $20 million for one season, but the same was said about Bell and he did it. Lawrence could decide to hold out for the preseason, into the regular season or even through the regular season.

Ideally, a long-term deal can be worked out. Then the Cowboys could bring down that $20.5 million salary-cap number, and Lawrence would have the deal he wants. But it seems there’s a long way to go before that becomes reality.

Back in November, Lawrence said “hats off” to Bell regarding his holdout, according to Calvin Watkins of The Athletic. These comments are ominous, when it comes to a possible holdout.

“He got good money and if he was smart with it, he protected it,” Lawrence told The Athletic in regards to Bell. “Now it’s not even about the pockets. It’s about the body and the mind. And so if they want to go cheap, he shouldn’t settle for cheap and cut his costs because the organization says he’s worth this much. It’s all up to him. He has to play this game. Nobody has to play this game but him.”

Lawrence is valuable to Cowboys D

Lawrence’s value to the Cowboys defense is clear. Over the past two seasons he has become one of the best defensive ends in football.

In 2017 and 2018 Lawrence has 25 sacks. He has made the Pro Bowl each season. Paying him $20.5 million for this season is a lot, but the Cowboys can’t afford to be without him playing such an important position.

The Cowboys slapping Lawrence with the franchise tag was not a surprise. Now the real unknown starts, as we find out what happens next.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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