As expected, the Cowboys have stuck the franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, the NFL Network reported Monday.
Now, no one is sure what to expect. Lawrence, who played under the tag last season, has made it clear he doesn’t want to do that again.
The two sides have been eligible to talk about a new contract since the end of the season, and talks were in progress. TheMMQB reported last week that Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was “confident” they could get a deal done.
“We’ve made our first offer, and we’re gonna meet with his representatives here at the combine,” Jones said. “I don’t know about the timing, but I’m confident we can get a deal done.”
The Cowboys had until Tuesday to place the franchise tag on Lawrence if they didn’t reach a deal.
The Athletic reported the two sides were “far apart” in negotiations, and that Lawrence would wait until “absolutely necessary” to sign the tag. But The Athletic said Lawrence could be expected to report at the latest by the start of the regular season, and his absence “shouldn’t be considered a holdout.”
The Cowboys have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Lawrence.
Lawrence paced the Cowboys with 10 1/2 sacks in 2018, and had 14 1/2 in 2017. USA Today estimated Lawrence should be worth a contract in the five-year, $110 million range.