DeMarcus Lawrence scored a major pay raise before the 2019 season. After a measly five sack season, should Dallas Cowboys fans want a lot more in 2020?
DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys is the sixth highest-paid defensive player according to salary cap hit in 2020. Despite this fact, Lawrence’s numbers have seen a steady decline since his best statistical season in 2017. Starting the discussion if Lawrence is going to be able to survive the entire five-years of his contract.
2017: Pro-Bowler with 14.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss
2018: Pro-Bowler with 10.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss
2019: No Pro-Bowl with 5.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss
Lawrence is due $21.9 million dollars in 2020. After his performance in 2019 resulted in him not being selected for the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2016. Lawrence deserves every cent of his money after the numbers in 2017 and 2018 but 2019 cannot be repeated if Lawrence wants to continue to be discussed as a top-defensive player and not be consider mightily overpaid.
Every Cowboy fan can be critical of the money that quarterback Dak Prescott is asking for this offseason. Even though it has just been media speculation on the amounts offered to Prescott at this point and not proven through a reliable source. But not many discuss the massive money Lawrence got before the 2019 season, currently, $65 million guaranteed and will keep him on the roster through 2021 at least.
That salary cap hit which can be so damaging to a team if they don’t balance their budget correctly expands to $24 million in 2022 and $26 million in 2023. The $50 million currently is not guaranteed, giving the Cowboys a potential out after the 2021 season.
The hope for fans of America’s Team is that Lawrence who is only 28-years old can return to his pro-bowl form for the remainder of the massive contract. He has even vowed this offseason that his sack numbers will increase in 2020. Saying the following in an interview on Fox Sports One’s Speak for Yourself earlier this month.
"“I know I ended the season with five sacks, but I also helped other players boost their numbers back up to double digits. It’s not a one-man game, and I know how to play the game the right way. I know how to make plays when plays come my way. And I also know how to make sure my teammates are making their plays. You don’t have to worry about nothing. Trust me, the sack number will be back up.”"
Two other NFL teams currently have the model the Cowboys have with two highly paid players on both sides of the ball. The Los Angeles Rams with quarterback Jared Goff ($29 million cap hit in 2020) and defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($25 million cap hit). The other being the Indianapolis Colts with quarterback Phillip Rivers ($25 million) and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner ($23.4 million).
Both teams don’t have enough data to know how the model works out, the Colts two players are both new additions in 2020, but it is curious if success is possible with this salary cap setup? Prescott the NFL’s largest salary cap hit in 2020 at $31.4 million and Lawrence both need to deliver if there will be room for both of them going forward.
Predictions are pointless, so the only way to know how this will play out is the 2020 season. A season that for the Cowboys sake hopefully delivers a pro-bowl quarterback and defensive end, for the money they are paying for them. All salary cap information can be verified at this link.