Demarcus Lawrence gets franchise tag from Dallas Cowboys
Last Updated: 06/03/18 1:00pm
Dallas Cowboys have officially placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive end Demarcus Lawrence after being unable to reach a deal on a long-term contract.
Lawrence was informed of the team's decision, which was made official on Monday when the Cowboys filed the appropriate paperwork to the NFL.
The deadline for applying the franchise designation to unrestricted free agents is 4pm ET on Tuesday (9pm GMT) and attention will turn to trying to thrash out the terms of a longer contract.
By using the franchise tag, Cowboys will have until 4pm ET (10pm BST) on July 15 to sign Lawrence to a multi-year contract or he will have to play the 2018 season under the one-year tender for around $17 million.
25-year-old Lawrence led the Cowboys with 14.5 sacks in 2017, playing all 16 games while earning his first Pro Bowl selection.
The news was widely expected after Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month that the team prefers a long-term contract rather than using the franchise tag.
"We won't let D-Law not be a Dallas Cowboy next year. We'll get that straight right now," Jones told the team's official 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, who turns 26 in April, had back surgery after the 2015 season and recorded just one sack in 2016, playing in nine games after dealing with back pain for most of the season. He had a second surgery on his back in January 2017.
A healthy Lawrence, whom the Cowboys traded up to take with the 34th overall pick in the NFL Draft, also had 58 tackles, five tackles for loss and four forced fumbles, recovering two, last season.