Cowboys at ‘impasse’ with DE Lawrence; still working

Field Level Media

March 27, 2019 at 12:27 am.

The Dallas Cowboys are at an “impasse” in extension talks with franchise-tagged defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, but they are still hopeful a deal can be reached, executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday.

“We’re motivated to get something done, and hopefully at some point we’ll get some momentum going,” Jones said from the annual league meetings in Phoenix. “Right now, the best way to describe it is we’re at an impasse. We’re apart. But certainly optimistic. … We’ll continue to chop wood.”

Jones’ father and team owner Jerry Jones was more vague when asked about the situation on Monday, saying, “It’s in the works.”

“We’re communicating,” the elder Jones added. “That’s what you’ve got until you actually meet to sign the contract.”

The team tagged Lawrence in March for the second year in a row and has 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.

Stephen Jones indicated the impasse in negotiations is connected to the gap between Khalil Mack’s and Aaron Donald’s mammoth-sized contracts, which were signed last fall, and the rest of the market.

“You have the top two guys at the top, and I’m sure that’s why we’re struggling here a little bit,” Jones said. “There’s a delta between the top two guys and where the rest of the edge rushers and pressure players have been paid up to this point.”

Mack ($23.5 million annually) and Donald ($22.5 million) are the only defenders in the NFL making more than Von Miller’s $19.02 million annually on a long-term deal, and Miller’s contract was signed in July 2016. The next-highest paid defender on a multi-year deal is Trey Flowers, who just signed for $18 million annually with the Detroit Lions in free agency.

Lawrence, who turns 27 in April, 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.

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.