Demarcus Lawrence

Cowboys Add Voidable Year To DeMarcus Lawrence’s Deal

DeMarcus Lawrence has agreed to extend his deal with a voidable year for salary cap purposes, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. In essence, Lawrence’s deal remains the same. But, in terms of cap flexibility, it’ll make a huge difference for Dallas.

[RELATED: Cowboys Rework Zack Martin’s Deal]

By converting $15MM of the defensive end’s base salary into a signing bonus, the Cowboys will open up $12MM in cap space this year. Lawrence was happy to help – he’s now locked in a giant chunk of cash, protecting him in the event of any game cancelations in 2020.

The seventh-year defender gave some thought to opting out of the season, but ultimately decided to play. That was a big relief from the Cowboys, who are counting on lots of pressure from their star pass rusher. The sack production wasn’t there in 2019, the first year of his five-year, $105MM mega-deal, but he registered a combined 25 sacks between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Now another year removed from shoulder surgery, the Cowboys have every reason to believe that Lawrence can resume his Pro Bowl form.

After restructuring Lawrence’s deal – as well as Zack Martin‘s contract – the Cowboys could be ready to spend. Despite word that the Cowboys have cooled on Earl Thomas, it’s worth noting that the star safety remains available.

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DeMarcus Lawrence To Report To Cowboys Camp

DeMarcus Lawrence considered opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. It is not known if the Pro Bowl Cowboys defensive end has decided to play, but he will report to Cowboys camp.

The seventh-year defender will report to camp Tuesday for coronavirus testing, Jane Slater of NFL.com and Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News report (Twitter links). Lawrence still has time to determine he will not play this season, with players not required to inform teams of their opt-out plans until August 3.

Lawrence’s wife is pregnant with their second child, and the acclaimed pass rusher revealed some hesitancy regarding a return to action under the circumstances.

Shoot, I love to ride with my brothers and play the game of football. When I have to take that away from myself, it’s hard and I don’t want to make a decision like that,” Lawrence said. “But I also have to make sure I’m taking care of my family. Family is No. 1. After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on, so I’ve got to take care of them.”

Although Dallas added a host of veteran pass rushers — including Aldon Smith and Gerald McCoy — this offseason, Lawrence once again resides as the Cowboys’ top pressure artist. He is signed to a long-term contract that runs through the 2023 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence Considering Opt Out

Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is mulling the possibility of opting out of the 2020 season, as ESPN.com’s Todd Archer writes. Lawrence, who has a baby on the way, wants to know more about the league’s plans and safety procedures before stepping on the field this fall.

Shoot, I love to ride with my brothers and play the game of football. When I have to take that away from myself, it’s hard and I don’t want to make a decision like that,” Lawrence said. “But I also have to make sure I’m taking care of my family. Family is No. 1. After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on, so I’ve got to take care of them.”

Lawrence won’t have long to get those answers – training camp opens in less than ten days, on July 28. A few days later, August 1, marks the proposed cut off date for players to make the call. Lawrence wants to know more about the living situation for players and the frequency of testing. So far, that’s all up in the air.

It’s those type of thing that make you think, ‘Man, are we some pawns? Is my life just a game,'” Lawrence said. “I know I ain’t got forever to play, but at the end of the day, come on, you’re just going to toss me around because you’ve got dollar signs in your face?

In Lawrence’s case, it’s a matter of many dollar signs. The 28-year-old is set to enter the second year of his five-year, $105MM mega-deal. If Lawrence doesn’t report for camp, he may have to forfeit a chunk of his signing bonus ($25MM in total). And, if the league’s latest proposal is finalized, Lawrence’s contract will toll. That means he’ll delay his next free agency turn for another year – a move that could cost him a fortune.

Despite offseason labrum surgery, Lawrence suited up for all 16 of the Cowboys’ regular season games last year. He posted only five sacks, but he registered a combined 25 sacks between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. This year, if he decides to play, he’ll look to get back to his Pro Bowl form.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Elliott, Garrett, Lawrence

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says he has stayed in contact with Ezekiel Elliott during his holdout (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). He went on to say that the conversations have been “all very positive,” though there’s still no word on when Elliott will show up for work.

Publicly, both sides are attempting to paint a fairly rosy picture of what’s taking place. Last week, a story likely leaked from Elliott’s camp indicated that he is in shape and ready to go for the upcoming season, despite his absence from practice. Meanwhile, Garrett was quick to tell reporters that he is on good terms with his star running back.

While we wait for movement on the Elliott front, here’s more from Dallas:

  • The Cowboys are set to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the PUP list, a source tells ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). Lawrence had shoulder surgery soon after signing his five-year, $101MM contract in April and has been out of action for the last few months. Crawford, meanwhile, is working through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Unfortunately, safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP.
  • This week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledged that a new deal for Dak Prescott would put him in the top tier of compensation for NFL quarterbacks.

NFC East Notes: Golden Tate, Redskins, Cowboys

On Saturday, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Though the veteran is appealing the suspension, don’t expect him to win that appeal, NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy writes.

After the suspension was doled out, Tate took to Twitter to say the test stemmed from a fertility treatment and he and the Giants are confident in the facts coming out. Citing former NFL doctor David J. Chao, Dunleavy expects the suspension to remain.

“Appreciate the story but if this is the basis for appeal, suspension will be upheld under current CBA. Like admitting you went over the speed limit because your speedometer broken. Still means a ticket,” Chao said [Twitter link].

Dunleavy went on to compare the case to that of defensive end Robert Mathis, who was suspended in 2014 for using the fertility drug, Clomid. He also cited the NFL does not typically reduce suspension lengths upon appeal.

With the suspension to Tate adds insult to several injuries for the Giants, who lost Sterling Shepard and Corey Coleman to injuries earlier in the week.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence held off on shoulder surgery until after he inked his new deal this offseason. The star pass-rusher is targeting the season opener vs. the Giants for when he will get back on the field,” Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. “I’m not saying I’m going to overload my workload for the season opener or what they want to do with me or have me off the PUP list by the season opener, but hopefully be ready by the season opener.”
  • Staying in Dallas, linebacker Sean Lee is playing teams in training camp, the first time playing with the unit since his second season in the league, Williams writes“I am just trying to help anyway I can,” Lee said Sunday. “I like being on the field. I want to try to make an impact. You can make a lot of plays on special teams, hopefully plays that can change a game. Having an impact anyway I can, that’s my goal.” With the emergence of Leighton Vander Esch in 2018, Lee is also moving to strongside linebacker in 2019.
  • Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said receiver Trey Quinn has the slot-receiver role locked up, ESPN’s John Keim tweets. This was long expected as Quinn has received rave reviews and the lack of depth at the spot on the roster.

Injury Notes: Brown, Luck, Gore, Watt, Jones, Lawrence

Here’s the latest on all the injuries to big names as training camps get underway across the league:

  • There was a brief uproar earlier when it was mysteriously announced that Antonio Brown would start camp on the Raiders’ non-football injury list. However, the as of now undisclosed issue that caused Brown to be placed on the NFI was described to Field Yates of ESPN as “very minor” (Twitter link). Further, Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune tweets that the Raiders have known of the injury for two weeks, and that Brown will probably only miss a week of camp time. Despite the initial panic, it doesn’t sound like this is anything you need to monitor going forward.
  • Andrew Luck was sidelined by a calf injury during the Colts’ offseason program, which sparked some concerns about his Achilles. However, Luck told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network today “my Achilles is not at extra risk of anything. It’s fine” (Twitter link). In a separate tweet, Pelissero notes Luck participated in team drills today, and that his limited workload has only been precautionary.
  • Speaking of the NFI, Bills GM Brandon Beane said that running back Frank Gore has been removed from it, per longtime Bills beat reporter Joe Buscaglia (Twitter link). Gore had been dealing with a minor injury, but has passed his physical and is cleared to practice. Gore will be competing for carries in a crowded Buffalo backfield that also features LeSean McCoy and rookie Devin Singletary.
  • J.J. Watt started camp on the Texans’ PUP list, but he’s now been removed and cleared to practice, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Watt was limited to just eight combined games in 2016 and 2017 due to injuries, but he played a full 16-game slate last year. Watt wasn’t the only Texan to get cleared, as James Palmer of NFL Network tweets that DeAndre Hopkins was also cleared and activated from PUP.
  • Byron Jones, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Noah Brown will start camp on the PUP list for the Cowboys, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Fortunately, Dallas is expecting all of them to be ready for the start of the season. Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery, Jones had surgery on his hip, and Crawford is also dealing with a hip injury. Last we heard, there had been no progress in extension talks between the team and Jones.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Lawrence, Giants

Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is expected to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, though he hopes to be “ready by Week One,” as Mike Florio of PFT writes.

The Cowboys certainly hope that’s the case, though recovery from labrum surgery can be tricky. Lawrence was playing through the injury in 2017 and 2018 and didn’t miss any time due to the injury, so he could bounce back quicker than most from the operation.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Giants tight end Rhett Ellison may be a candidate for release, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com opines. Ellison’s contract puts him in some jeopardy – he’s set to count for a $5.75MM hit with a potential for $3.25MM in savings if he’s cut. However, the Giants tend to rely on two tight end sets and No. 1 TE Evan Engram has suffered four injuries in the last eleven months. Dunleavy also listed outside linebacker Kareem Martin as a potential cut since he was signed to be a starter last year and now profiles as a backup. However, releasing him would save just $1.1MM against $4.83MM in dead money.
  • Melvin Gordon‘s threat to hold out from the Chargers could be a canary in the coal mine for the Giants and Saquon Barkley, Dunleavy writes. Barkley is still on his rookie contract, but when that deal draws to a close, he could very easily stare down the G-Men the way that Gordon is doing to the Bolts. Other teams have downplayed the value of RBs, but GM Dave Gettleman has publicly lavished Barkley with effusive praise, which may impact future negotiations. The GM has said that Barkley has been “touched by the hand of G-d” and has also routinely shrugged off anti-RB analytics.

Extra Points: Lawrence, Gostkowski, Bills

After inking a five-year, $105MM extension with the Cowboys, DeMarcus Lawrence met with the media today. The pass-rusher discussed his impending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, although he cautioned that he’ll be ready to go for the start of the year.

“I’ll be ready for the start of the season,” Lawrence said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “I’m not worried about it. It’s just about getting [the surgery] over with.”

Lawrence is facing a four- to six-month rehabilitation process. The defensive end previously had two back surgeries and a thumb operation, and he’s been playing through his current injury since 2017. However, the ailment hasn’t forced Lawrence to miss any time, and he’s compiled 25 sacks over the past two years. In fact, his impending surgery may have helped to speed up negotiations.

“We were aware of it, and I knew we were getting to a point where we needed to make it happen,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “I think DeMarcus was aware of that, too. I mean, he loves to play the game. Certainly, having that looming out there was probably important for both of us to really push and make the push we did there to get it done.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Albert Breer of The MMQB has plenty of details regarding Lawrence’s negotiations with the Cowboys. Specifically, the defensive end never had any desire to leave Dallas, a fact that ended up working in the organization’s favor. If the two sides hadn’t agreed to a new deal by the July 15th deadline, Lawrence would have reported to the team on the Saturday before Week 1, and he never intended to sit out the entire season. When negotiations weren’t going well, Lawrence’s agent contacted a pair of unidentified AFC teams about trading for the Pro Bowler, although nothing ever materialized.
  • Stephen Gostkowski‘s two-year deal with the Patriots is worth $8.5MM, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The kicker just finished up a four-year, $17.2MM pact with the organization, so his average annual value remains consistent. The three-time Super Bowl champion is the third-most accurate kicker in league history. Last season, he made 27 of his 32 field goal attempts, good for an 84.4% conversion rate that ranked 20th in the NFL.
  • Quinton Spain‘s one-year deal with the Bills is worth $2.05MM, according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak (via Twitter). The offensive guard will receive a $200K signing bonus, a $1.75MM non-guaranteed base salary, and a $100K workout bonus. Spain, who started 48 games over four seasons with the Titans, joined the Bills last week.
  • The Chargers have hired La’Roi Glover as an assistant defensive line coach, according to Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. Glover played 13 seasons in the NFL, earning six Pro Bowl nods. The former defensive tackle also earned a spot on the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000s. The 44-year-old previously served as a coach with both the Jets and Rams. The organization also announced that Chris Caminiti was hired as a senior coaching assistant.

Latest On DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence‘s leverage play delayed his shoulder surgery until this week, with the Pro Bowl defensive end set to go under the knife Wednesday. But it will be a bit before he returns to action.

The recently extended standout will not be ready for the start of training camp and will not play in the preseason, Lawrence confirmed during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show (via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Jerry Jones confirmed Lawrence’s recovery will take between four and six months. The Cowboys will open their season in around five months, making it uncertain they will have Lawrence for Week 1. While Lawrence could be ready for camp, if this rehab process goes exceedingly well, it is extremely unlikely he suits up by that point given how long this operation was delayed.

Lawrence has dealt with labrum trouble for years. This surgery will prevent further damage, which could have ended up with Lawrence on IR in 2019.

For what it’s worth, the 26-year-old defender said this shoulder trouble was not on par with the back issues he experienced earlier in his career. His back problems contributed to the Cowboys franchise-tagging him in 2018, but after another season of health (relatively) and double-digit sacks, the team made Lawrence a priority and signed him to a five-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Demarcus Lawrence Contract Details

On Friday, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys agreed to a five-year deal worth $105MM, making the defensive lineman one of the highest-paid defenders in the league. 

That deal will include plenty in guaranteed money, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer (Twitter link). Breer broke the deal down like this:

  • 2019: $25MM to sign, $4.6MM roster bonus due on May 1, and $1.5MM base salary.
  • 2020: $16.9MM base that is fully guaranteed.
  • 2021: $17MM base with an injury guarantee that converts to a full guarantee in March 2020.
  • 2022: $19MM base salary.
  • 2023: $21MM base salary.

That’s $48MM fully guaranteed, but it is practically $65MM as the team would have to cut him after just one season to avoid paying that extra $17MM. It was reported recently Lawrence was seeking $22.5MM annually, and while he didn’t get that figure, he got close, with an average annual value of $21MM.

The Cowboys reportedly offered Lawrence an AAV of $17MM at the NFL Combine, which his camp countered with at least $20MM, The Athletic’s Calvin Watkins writes. Following the owners meeting, the Cowboys increased their offered to $20MM, but Lawrence’s agent, David Canter, pushed for $22.5MM. Dallas also reportedly originally offered Lawrence a six-year deal, but moved it down to five before the sides agreed on a price tag.

Now that he has signed his deal, Lawrence will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum. That procedure will take place on Wednesday, which will prevent complete dislocation, Ed Werder tweets. If dislocation happened, Lawrence would be looking at an IR stay, Werder hears.

With the new deal, the Cowboys gained an extra $10MM in cap space, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill tweets. Now that Lawrence’s deal is out of the way, the Cowboys are eyeing new contracts for several players, including Dak Prescott.

In Watkins’ piece, he notes the Cowboys are monitoring talks between Seattle and Russell Wilson before engaging with Prescott about a new deal. Regardless how that deal unfolds, Prescott is a near lock to sign a $100MM-plus contract with Dallas sometime soon.

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