East Rumors: Cowboys, Lawrence, Bills

The Cowboys have yet to talk to DeMarcus Lawrence’s agent about an extension, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). They are expected to meet with Lawrence’s agent, David Canter, at the combine, but they may experience some sticker shock when they happens.

As Pelissero notes, Canter negotiated Olivier Vernon‘s five-year, $85MM free agent deal with the Giants two years ago, and it’s his “understanding” that he’ll look for at least $17MM/year to match Vernon. If that’s not on the table, Lawrence is apparently comfortable playing under the franchise tag for defensive ends, which is projected to be more than $17.5MM for the coming season.

Lawrence has back surgery and a suspension in his history, but he tallied 14.5 sacks in 2017, which nearly doubles Vernon’s total from his contract year. Vernon earned an outstanding 92.6 overall score from Pro Football Focus in his walk year, but Lawrence bested that with a 94.1 showing in 2017, putting him behind only Cameron Jordan and Von Miller in the edge rusher category.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • At this point, it doesn’t seem likely that the Bills will cut Tyrod Taylor before they have a replacement lined up at quarterback, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Rapoport hears that the Bills are comfortable with paying Taylor’s $6MM roster bonus just to keep him on the roster, giving them the option of either trading him or keeping him to start this season in front of a rookie. If they pay out Taylor’s bonus, his contract will effectively boil down to a one-year, $10MM deal, which should make him attractive to QB-needy teams who lose out on this year’s top free agents or are unable to bid that high.
  • It would make sense for the Patriots to retain tackle LaAdrian Waddle and/or tackle Cameron Fleming, Doug Kyed of NESN opines. The Pats won all five games that Waddle started in last year and he did not surrender a sack. Both Waddle and Fleming are familiar with the Pats’ blocking schemes and that is important for New England, particularly with Nate Solder scheduled for free agency.
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