2. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
Let’s clear the air. We know Lawrence wasn’t a free agent. However, there were talks that he could be a cap casualty to save money. So, in our eyes, his restructure was a way of saving this guy from ending up elsewhere if cut just like any other free agent could.
Cowboys fans were excited about DeMarcus Lawrence returning for a plethora of reasons. He’s a longtime Cowboy and he’s a passionate defender. However, Lawrence’s restructure became one of the most important offseason moves when fellow DE Gregory would end up backing out of his deal with the Cowboys just a day after Lawrence’s restructure was announced. Imagine for a second what this team would look like if both Gregory and Lawrence were not on the roster next year. Nightmare.
Dallas almost lost Lawrence too, though. After the Pro Bowl defender admitted that he wanted to stay in Dallas and didn’t want to up and move his family, he did reveal some interesting things about how the front office handled his restructure. Keep in mind that in early March, Lawrence initially denied a pay cut. Then, Stephen Jones got the man to sit down and negotiate and Jones thought it would be wise to offer a player who has given the franchise eight years of work a laughable (and “disrespectful” according to Lawrence) one-year deal worth $10 million.
After hearing that, the 29-year-old literally asked Jones to cut him. Thankfully, the front office opened their eyes and eventually gave Lawrence a three-year extension worth $40 million that will likely keep him in Dallas for the rest of his playing career. The veteran will undoubtedly lead this defense in 2022. In his eight years with the Cowboys, he has two interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, 48.5 sacks, 321 total tackles, 74 tackles for loss, and 100 QB hits.