Why Cowboys plan to wait on 2nd straight franchise tag for DeMarcus Lawrence, for now

Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can start placing the franchise tag on a prospective free agent.

Look for the Dallas Cowboys to take a wait-and-see approach with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence before tagging him for the second straight season and potentially beginning a contentious negotiation that could result in a holdout.

The Cowboys will not place the tag on Lawrence on Tuesday, according to sources.

They will try to negotiate a long-term extension with his agent David Canter possibly until the March 5 deadline for franchise tags.

Look for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis - Feb. 28-March 3 - to be a true line of demarcation for something to get done.

What is certain is the Cowboys have no interest in letting Lawrence hit free agency. He is a top priority and they plan to keep him at all cost.

What is also true is that Lawrence has no interest in playing under the tag for a second straight season.

He made $17.1 million under the tag in 2018 and would make $20.5 million on the tag in 2019.

After following up a breakout season in 2017 with 10.5 sacks, 39 quarterback pressures and a second straight trip to the Pro Bowl, Lawrence held up his end of the bargain and proved that he was a true franchise defensive end.

Now he wants the long-term security that comes with it on a multi-year deal possibly worth between $20.5 and $23 annually.

If not, he probably will not get the shoulder surgery he needs and plans to sit out the off-season program, mini-camp, training camp and possibly regular season games.

Let the wait commence.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.