Dallas Cowboys: Did Money Change DeMarcus Lawrence?

Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

DeMarcus Lawrence hasn’t produced like he used to making some believe the Dallas Cowboys end isn’t trying as hard.

Ever since DeMarcus Ware was shown the door in 2014, the Dallas Cowboys have been searching for their next great “war daddy”. Finding a franchise caliber pass-rusher proved difficult for Dallas as they rotated in replaceable parts for the next three seasons. But their patience paid off when DeMarcus Lawrence broke through with 14.5 sacks in 2017.

After delivering back-to-back double-digit sack seasons, the Dallas Cowboys rewarded Lawrence with the richest defensive contract in franchise history. Such is the price you pay for one of the most complete defensive linemen in the league.

But since cashing in on that $21 million/year contract, Lawrence’s numbers have nosedived, causing many to believe the man who calls himself “Tank” has lost his edge and is now resting on his laurels.

After averaging 12.5 sacks per season the previous two years, Tank only produced five sacks in 2019. Not what you expect from a war daddy who played all 16 games, is it? Well, that trend has continued into 2020, with Lawrence completely blank in the sack column three weeks in.

It’s clear this is not the production fans were expecting when the Dallas Cowboys re-signed him in 2019. And it’s understandable people believe he’s relaxed his play without money being a motivating force anymore.

If only the film backed that up…

DeMarcus Lawrence is grinding for the Dallas Cowboys

Anyone who thinks D-Law is coasting now that he’s filthy rich, clearly has not seen the film. All Lawrence has done is battle. Not like a man going through the motions, but like a man who’s fighting for his life. Never mind the fact he’s playing injured.

Last season, Lawrence was one of top rated defensive ends in the NFL. Pro Football Focus put him in the top-12 because sacks alone are a pretty silly stat to judge a player’s worth. And Lawrence was still getting the pressures and the tackles for loss that are consistent with the NFL’s best “war daddies.”

Additionally, we broke down in the article below, he was one of the most double-team defensive ends in the NFL:

Related Story. Sacks alone are a poor way to grade DeMarcus Lawrence's play. light

Much of that has continued this season with Lawrence receiving considerably more attention from offenses than his counterpart Aldon Smith. This, despite Smith leading the NFL in sacks this season.

Just last week we saw Lawrence repeatedly set the edge and disrupted the Seattle running game. We saw him push Wilson in the pocket. We saw him force Wilson into a sack (from Antwaun Woods last week and Smith the week before). We even saw him in coverage taking away a passing lane to an otherwise open Seahawk.

All this while playing injured. All this while rushing out of a two-point stance for the first time.

It may sound like I’m making excuses for Lawrence, and perhaps I am. I watch the film every week and see this guy working harder than arguably any other Cowboy on the team. I want him to win.

And while I fully admit his numbers are down and better production is expected of him, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how unstable sack numbers are and how he’s likely to regress to the mean (in a good way)  in coming weeks – provided he can get back closer to 100%.

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We can debate whether or not his best days are behind him. And we an argue whether or not paying him all that money was a smart thing or not. What we can’t debate is whether or not the money changed him. Because D-law is out there grinding at 100 percent each and every week. The numbers may not show it but the film sure as heck does.

So next time you hear someone say the money changed DeMarcus Lawrence ask them how much game film they’ve watched, because the Tank I watch is still that same nasty never-quit rusher we loved back in 2018.

Next. The Cowboys should trade an offensive star to help the defense. dark

Did money change D-law? Watch the film and see for yourself.

  • Published on 10/01/2020 at 12:45 PM
  • Last updated at 10/02/2020 at 07:43 AM