Why the Dallas Cowboys should tag DeMarcus Lawrence
Here’s why I believe the Dallas Cowboys would be much better off using the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence rather than giving him a monster contract.
One of the biggest storylines fans of the Dallas Cowboys will be following closely this offseason is the status of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Currently a free agent, the 25-year old exploded for 36 total tackles and 15.0 sacks in 2017. That, after three seasons of questionable play.
With their precious War Daddy scheduled to hit the open market, the Cowboys are expected to sign Lawrence to a lucrative long-term deal or slap the franchise tag on him to keep him in Dallas for another season.
As of now, the Cowboys claim they want to ink the young defender to a lengthy contract that will keep The Star on the side of Lawrence’s helmet for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, I believe Dallas is making the same mistake they made with wide receiver Dez Bryant three years ago.
Back in 2015, the Cowboys signed Bryant to a five-year, $70 million deal after the receiver posted a league-leading 16 receiving touchdowns. Ever since, Dez’s production has underwhelmed due to injuries and age. But at least Bryant had a history of success you could point to prior to signing that monster deal.
That’s not the case for Lawrence, who honestly only had half a season of decent production in his first three years in the league. His rookie year was limited due to a foot injury. After a slow start in 2015, Lawrence posted 7.0 of his 8.0 sacks in the second half of that season. In his third year, the young pass rusher was slapped with a four-game suspension for substance abuse and recorded 1.0 sack in nine games.
Now throw in the fact that Lawrence has already had two back surgeries by his 25th birthday, and suddenly investing long term in DeMarcus with only a season and a half of decent production in four years seems rather premature. But according to the Cowboys themselves, Lawrence’s health is not an issue.
"“We think [Lawrence’s] health is good, long term,” owner Jerry Jones told the Star-Telegram. “We just think his health is good. I wouldn’t address any aspect, but we think his health is good. He’s got a lot of years. His best years are ahead of him.”"
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The Dallas Cowboys can not afford to make the same mistake with DeMarcus Lawrence as they did with Dez Bryant. I believe the Cowboys would be better off placing the franchise tag on Lawrence and allow the young pass rusher to prove himself worthy of a long-term deal with back-to-back outstanding performances in consecutive seasons.