It was a phone call on Thursday between defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and vice president Stephen Jones that broke the ice and led to the signing of the richest contract in team history one day later.
But arguably the biggest key to getting a deal done following what had been an impasse between both sides comes Wednesday when Lawrence is set to have surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Lawrence had delayed having surgery as leverage in contract negotiations but now the move was potentially going to have diminishing returns for both sides, if a deal didn’t get done soon.
Jones confirmed the rehab time for the surgery is four-to-six months. It puts his availability for training camp and possibly the start of the season in jeopardy.
He is already set to miss the start of training camp in late July.
“Yes, you are always hopeful for the shorter time barring some complication,” Jones confirmed on the four-to-six month rehab on 103.3 FM Monday morning. “It was certainly a concern. He played with it last year. We felt like it in his best interest long-term. DeMarcus felt that way. We needed to get surgery. It turns out it got done in a timely fashion. We couldn’t do a contract that wasn’t good for DeMarcus and the Cowboys.”
Lawrence also confirmed on the Rich Eisen podcast that his plan is to miss the entire preseason and be ready for the season opener.
Considering Lawrence got the richest annual contract in team history of five years for $105 million, with a record $31 million coming in the first year, there was no way they were going to do a deal if he wasn’t going to be available for the entire season or chance playing with the injury by not getting the surgery.
Lawrence’s agent David Canter set up a phone call with Jones on Thursday.
“They wanted to get on the line and have a candid conversation,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s good for the principals to get together and see where everybody is. His agent set it up. And he said, ‘Maybe DeMarcus needs to hear from you.’ It was cordial and respectful on both sides. It helped things out.
“DeMarcus knows what we think for him. The contract speaks for itself. He understands we do have to manage the salary cap. We are just dividing up the pie. We are going to eat up the pie. It’s how we divide it up. And he is going to get his fair share. He deserves to have a lucrative contract as he now has it. Now we are moving forward.”
Moving forward with the surgery on Wednesday and hopefully with Lawrence on the field for the season opener.