Cowboys: Why DeMarcus Lawrence SIGNING his tender is huge news

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 25: Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence /

DeMarcus Lawrence signed his franchise tender last night ensuring he’ll stay with the club through next season. Here’s why that’s actually huge news…

We all knew the Dallas Cowboys would be slapping their soon-to-be free agent defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence, with the franchise tag, eventually. After exploding for a career-best 14.5 sacks last season, Lawrence accomplished more in a season than he did in the previous three years combined.

DeMarcus “Tank” Lawrence became the player Dallas has been looking for ever since they sent DeMarcus Ware packing four years ago. It was clear they had no intention of letting him walk and if a long-term deal couldn’t be struck, they had every intention of using the tag.

So that shouldn’t be news to anyone. What is the big news is that Tank SIGNED his franchise tag and seems perfectly fine playing on it if a multi-year deal cannot be agreed upon.

What makes this news so significant is it requires Tank to be a part of all mandatory offseason activities.

You don’t have to think back too far to see what happens when players aren’t part of those offseason activities. In 2015, Dez Bryant refused to sign his franchise tender and sat out of activities while both sides negotiated a long-term deal. Eventually a deal was struck (mid July) but the damage had been done. Dez Bryant was out of shape and a step behind. He went on to have a statistically poor and injury filled season, never truly catching up to his teammates who were full participants in the program.

Dez Bryant is hardly an isolated case. Every year we see players sit out of offseason activities and all-too-often dig themselves a hole they never get out of. Tank Lawrence doesn’t want to be one of those players.

Tricky Negotiation

Tank’s contract situation is a particularly tricky negotiation. His 14.5 sacks last season were second in the NFL, and as such, he stands to reset the market at pass rusher. But unlike Dez Bryant, who packed together brilliant season after brilliant season leading up to free agency, Tank has had only one good season.

Smart money is on Tank playing the entire season on the 1-year tender as the Cowboys sit back and see whether he can duplicate success. If so, he’ll only be 26 at this time next year and still well within the sweet spot for a ginormous second contract that will cover him through his prime.

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Ideal situation handled perfectly

This is shaking out to be an ideal situation that’s been handled perfectly by all parties involved. Tank is willing and able to prove it once again. He has a realistic grasp of his sitatuion and is responding the right way.

Dallas isn’t eager to hand out $100 million to a player who’s technically a one-year wonder. They are choosing fiscal restraint and are willing to endure a little discomfort rather than gamble for the sake of comfort.

Both sides know, if Tank repeats his 2017 performance he’ll be in line for the biggest defensive contract in the NFL.

If that’s not a motivator, I’m not sure what is. The good news for Cowboys fans is this motivates Tank once again. And extra motivation is exactly what you want for your core players heading into a season with Super Bowl expectations.

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It cannot be understated how important it is to take part in team offseason activities. And by signing the franchise tender, DeMarcus Lawrence has assured the Cowboys he’ll be a part of them and ready to repeat his dominance in 2018.