Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys make first offer to DeMarcus Lawrence. Will it be enough to get a deal done?

Let Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones tell it, there are no concerns about getting a long-term contract extension done with free agent defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

Jones said the Cowboys have made their first contract offer to the two-time Pro Bowler and now it’s just a matter of when, not if, the two sides can come to an agreement.

“I’m confident we’ll get a deal done,” Jones said between competition committee meetings before the start of this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “I don’t know the timing, but I’m very confident we can get a deal done. Everybody’s on the record, from [owner] Jerry [Jones] to myself to [coach ]Jason Garrett to [scouting director] Will [McClay], on what we think of D-Law.”

Jones will meet with Lawrence’s agent David Canter later this week at the combine in hopes of making more progress before the March 5 deadline for a franchise tag.

Lawrence played under the tag last year for $17.1 million and proved his worth by following up a 14.5-sack season in 2017 with 10.5 sacks in 2018.

He has no plans of signing the tag again and has even threatened to not show up for the off-season program or training camp if a multi-year deal isn’t done.

The Cowboys will certainly use the tag on Lawrence at $20.5 million for 2019 as a placeholder to keep him from hitting the market if nothing is consummated by March 5.

But Jones has little concern about any acrimony because he believes the two sides will eventually work something out.

“It’s the last day you’ve got to tag him,” Jones said of the March 5 deadline. “But at the end of the day, we know it’s not over if it doesn’t get done by then. I hate to put deadlines on anything. Would we like to get it done? I’d like to have it done yesterday. We’ve just got to continue to work.

“Hopefully we’ll have some very thoughtful and meaningful conversations and make some progress.”

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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.