The Dallas Cowboys are expected to use their franchise tag on edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, according to reporter David Moore. NFL teams can begin using their franchise tag on Tuesday, and have until March 6th to make the decision. Moore is reporting the Cowboys will wait until closer to the deadline while negotiations continue.
Lawrence busted out in a big way this season, finishing with 14.5 sacks. It took Lawrence some time to get going in the NFL. He had zero sacks in seven games as a rookie, and then had eight sacks in his second season. He finished his third season with one sack while playing only nine games and then bounced back with his 14.5 sack season this past year.
It would be nice to get a crack at Lawrence on the open market, but it makes sense for the Cowboys to tag him. The talent is undeniable, but they likely don’t want to commit too much to a guy who has one big season, and one solid season in four years in the NFL. It would be worth betting on, but the Cowboys are going to play this conservative for the time being. I would not be surprised to see him play out the year on the franchise tag.
Lawrence’s likely departure from the open market means Ezekiel Ansah is the top pass rusher available in free agency. He has been injury prone, so it will be interesting to see just how much a team is willing to commit to him long-term. I have a feeling someone will bet big, but we’ll see if it’s the San Francisco 49ers or somebody else.