Boise State Football

Off breakout season, ex-Boise State standout Lawrence in line for big NFL payday

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence loosens up on the exercise bike on the sideline during the Cowboys’ Oct. 29, 2017 win over the Washington Redskins 33-19 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence loosens up on the exercise bike on the sideline during the Cowboys’ Oct. 29, 2017 win over the Washington Redskins 33-19 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Special to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

DeMarcus Lawrence’s NFL career got off to a slow start, with nine sacks in his first three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

Then in 2017, in the last year of his rookie contract, the former Boise State defensive end exploded onto the scene with 14.5 sacks, tied for second-most in the league.

Now, he’s looking to get paid.

Lawrence is hoping to make approximately $17 million per season, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. That would put him in the top five among defensive linemen, but there is a catch: Dallas could use the franchise tag.

If a long-term deal isn’t done by March 6, the Cowboys can use the one-year franchise tag, which will pay approximately $17.5 million. A long-term deal allows teams to spread out the salary cap hit from the first year of the contract. If Dallas doesn’t use the tag or sign Lawrence, he’d be a free agent March 14.

“We won’t let D-Law not be a Dallas Cowboy next year. We’ll get that straight right now,” executive vice president Stephen Jones told the team’s website. “We’ll do everything we can to try to make something work, and if we don't get it done then we’ll franchise tag him. Then we’ll go back to work. We’d like to not have that franchise tag hanging out there. We’ve got a big negotiation ahead of us. But we don’t want DeMarcus Lawrence going anywhere.”

Lawrence had 20 sacks in two seasons at Boise State, and declared for the draft after his junior season. He was taken in the second round (34th overall) in 2014. Dallas had three other former Broncos on its roster last season — quarterback Kellen Moore, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford. Moore is now the team’s quarterbacks coach.

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