Demarcus Lawrence has won matchups with Giants right tackle Bobby Hart and Broncos right-edge protector Menelik Watson en route to 3.5 sacks in the Cowboys‘ first two games. However, the fourth-year defensive end is not big on attributing his early run of success to being in a contract year. And the former second-round pick wants to impress Cowboys management rather than pursue a UFA path.
“I mean, it’s a contract year, so what?” Lawrence said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I want to be here forever. This year don’t define me as a player. Y’all might say it’s because it’s a contract year, but the first year I was balling. My second year I was balling. My third year I had trouble with my back, so it didn’t seem like I was there. This year doesn’t define me.”
That injury and a four-game suspension limited Lawrence to nine regular-season contests last season. He registered just four sacks after recording eight as a second-year player. Lawrence missed nine games as a rookie due to injury, so the former Boise State standout staying healthy would be a key component of his push for a second Cowboys contract.
Here’s the latest from the East divisions, shifting to a contract that didn’t come to pass.
- Jay Cutler said the Jets scheduled multiple visits for him to visit New York as a free agent, but each ended up being cancelled. Now coming to the Big Apple as the Dolphins starter, Cutler said the sides weren’t in the mere exploratory stage but also noted (via the Associated Press) the Jets weren’t “aggressive” in their pursuit of him as a then-UFA. Cutler will face former Bears teammate Josh McCown this weekend in the AFC East tilt.
- Malcolm Butler played at least 96 percent of the Patriots‘ defensive snaps in 2015 and ’16, but Eric Rowe took his place in the starting lineup last week against the Saints. The subject of trade rumors this offseason — with the Saints being the frontrunner for that would-be deal — the contract-year corner tried to brush that topic off. “This is where I play; this is where I’m happy at,” Butler said (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com), “just have to continue doing my thing.” This is the latest chapter in the Butler/Pats saga, one that looks likely to end after this season. Both Rowe and Stephon Gilmore have seen groin injuries emerge, so Butler may well return to the Pats’ starting lineup against the Texans. However, Butler’s received no indication that he’ll return to a first-string role.
- Ben McAdoo is not dismissing the idea of ceding the Giants‘ play-calling reins, but it doesn’t sound like he wants to give them up, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes, adding it might take a front office direction to get the second-year coach to give up that responsibility. While writing OC Mike Sullivan suddenly calling plays wouldn’t be a cure-all, Vacchiano opines that McAdoo is occasionally “lost” trying to manage the game and call plays.