Dallas Cowboys defensive end, Demarcus Lawrence, had a breakout season in 2017 registering 14.5 sacks which was good enough to be tied for second in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Cowboys salary cap, Lawrence just finished the last year on his rookie deal and is looking to get paid.
$17 million a year, to be exact, he played like a top defensive end and wants to be rewarded for it.
The Cowboys believe Lawrence is a cornerstone piece for their defense, so if a long-term deal is not worked out before March 6th then he will be franchise tagged, paying Lawrence a little over that $17 million he wants.
The best move for the Cowboys would be to let Lawrence play under the franchise tag in 2018 because the money the defensive end wants per year with a long-term contract is approximately the same as what the tag will pay him. Lawrence hasn't been a model of consistency; having one season with double digit sacks shouldn't be enough to make the Cowboys go all in on this possibly rising star.
If D-Law is able to replicate his success in 2018 then the Cowboys should definitely pay him top of the line money but if teams are able to game-plan Lawrence out of the equation and he struggles then the Cowboys will be able to reevaluate what a long-term contract for #90 looks like going forward.