Reports: Cowboys, Lawrence make progress in contract talks

Field Level Media

April 05, 2019 at 9:36 pm.

The Dallas Cowboys and franchise-tagged defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence are making progress in contract talks, according to multiple reports, after negotiations were termed to be at an “impasse” last week.

“This is some optimism that things could be wrapped up in the near future,” NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport said on “Up To The Minute Live” on Friday.

The Cowboys tagged Lawrence in March for the second year in a row and have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term extension. Lawrence played the 2018 season on his $17.1 million tender, and he can make $20.5 million in 2019, but reports have indicated he is unlikely to participate in training camp if he doesn’t receive a long-term extension.

The two sides have apparently gotten closer since team owner Jerry Jones declared an “impasse” last week, adding, “We’re apart. But certainly optimistic. … We’ll continue to chop wood.”

Lawrence, who turns 27 on April 28, is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal worth upward of that $20.5 million tag amount. He also could reportedly delay the shoulder surgery he needs until a long-term resolution is reached, which could explain why contract talks are heating up now and not closer to the July 15 deadline.

In the past two seasons, Lawrence has a combined 25 sacks, 49 quarterback hits and 122 tackles. The Cowboys selected the Boise State product in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said the recent progress likely means the Cowboys’ offer has reached the $20 million-plus per-year range. Garafolo said the average annual salary on a long-term deal should land somewhere between the $20.5 million franchise tag figure and the $23.5 million per year contract of Chicago linebacker Khalil Mack, the league’s highest paid defender.