The Dallas Cowboys have made their first big move of the NFL free agency period — and, no surprise, it’s signing one of their own.
The real surprise, though, is who that signing turned out to be.
Star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had been a player many thought Dallas might decide to move on from this offseason- especially after reports in recent weeks that the All-Pro had declined the Cowboys’ request that he take a pay cut.
Instead, no pay cut.
Rather, it’s a new contract for the Cowboys top pass rusher of the last several years.
Per the new agreement, Lawrence gets a three-year contract with Dallas, and a reported $30 million guaranteed in the deal. The contract creates a win-win situation for all parties involved: Lawrence gets more guaranteed money, and Dallas is able to lower his salary cap number.
Lawrence missed much of the 2021 season with a broken bone in his foot, but was very productive during the seven games in which he did participate, recording three sacks, and an incredibly athletic pick-six against Washington.
Lawrence was a second-team All-Pro in 2017, and made the Pro Bowl in both ’17 and ’18 while combining for 25 sacks over those two seasons. His production has dipped some in recent years to five sacks in ’19, and 6.5 sacks in ’20.
Still, Lawrence’s presence on the field creates matchup problems for opposing offenses that are looking to keep him and his fellow Cowboys pass rushers out of the backfield.
The deal for Lawrence also throws into question the status of fellow defensive end Randy Gregory. The Cowboys other top pass rusher on the defensive line, Gregory has been linked to the Broncos in early free agency rumors, but had also been identified as a player the Cowboys seemed likely to bring back in 2022.
Now that Lawrence and the Cowboys have agreed to terms, there may not be a way for Dallas to sign both pass rushers.
Written By: Mike Leslie for ABC8
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