DeMarcus Lawrence to play 2018 under Franchise Tag

DeMarcus Lawrence was a defensive beast for the Cowboys in 2017, posting a career-high 14.5 sacks on his way to his first Pro Bowl in four seasons with Dallas. He trailed only Chandler Jones in Arizona for the most sacks in the league, while leading the NFL in total yards lost from his sacks at 160 total yards.

It was an impressive breakout season for the for the former second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The type of season that usually results in a lucrative long-term deal. But there will not be a long-term deal for Lawrence this season as the Cowboys, and the former Boise State Bronco could not reach a long-term agreement before Monday’s franchise tag deadline.

Lawrence will earn $17.143 million this season, a mighty sum compared to the $5.2 million he averaged in each of the five seasons of his rookie contract. But unlike fellow Cowboys Zack Martin, Tyronn Smith, and Travis Frederick, Lawrence was unable to secure a long-term deal and financial security after this season.

The gamble could blow up in the face of Jerry Jones and the Dallas front office, as Lawrence, along with David Irving, are set to be unrestricted free agents after the 2018 season. It is feasible that securing the offensive line in lieu of the defensive line may cost Jones and Co. the top two pass rushers heading into the 2019 season.