Can Tank Lawrence get a bag? I'm talking about a bag of cash from the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys double digit sack leader the last two seasons is expected to be hit with the franchise tag for the second off-season in a row. Last year Lawrence gladly took the franchise tag and the $17.1 million it came with.
The message the organization sent was simple, "Give us another Pro Bowl season and we will be happy to rewards you with a long-term contract." Lawrence did his part with 10.5 sacks. 39 pressures. Two forced fumbles, an interception and 12 tackles for loss.
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So why haven't the Cowboys locked him up? Jerry Jones said this last week, "Obviously, D-Law is a priority. He played under the franchise tag and did it in a very respectful way and played his butt off. I do think he’s first up."
One thought process of the club comes per Calvin Watkins of TheAthletic.com, "Cowboys officials value Lawrence, but they don’t believe they should pay him $20 million per season, which is the starting point for top-level pass rushers. The Cowboys’ offers to Lawrence have been below $20 million per season. Guaranteed money in the contract is affected by the average per season because in addition to a signing bonus, some base salaries will become guaranteed."
What course of action can Tank take? He can just not show up. This means missing him for the off-season program, the OTAs, mandatory mini-camp and even training camp. Ask Pittsburgh Steelers fans how that second franchise tag they used on running back Le'Veon Bell worked out for them. It didn't, because Bell elected to not play the 2018 season for Pittsburgh and they missed the playoffs.
The Steelers were able to rely on running back James Connor to fill Bell's role. The Cowboys do not have any player that can fill Lawrence's shoes at defensive end. His backup is Taco Charlton, who has underwhelmed since being drafted in the first round two years ago. Charlton was even a healthy scratched for games last year as Dallas won the NFC East. Tyrone Crawford is the starter on the right side at defensive end. He totaled 5.5 sack in 2018. Randy Gregory is a backup defensive end but he was suspended by the NFL last week. Up next on the defensive end depth chart is Dorance Armstrong who only registered a half sack during his rookie season.
Jones is 76 years old and admitted he doesn't have another 30 years to run the Cowboys. So if he is truly in a rush to get his fourth Super Bowl title as a NFL owner trying to hold the line to pay Lawrence seems misguided.
Defensive end, quarterback and left tackle are the most important positions a team needs to have filled. Dallas has Tryon Smith under a long-term contract and Jones says he will make Dak Prescott one of the highest paid signal callers in the league this off-season.
So why can't Tank Lawrence get a bag of cash? He has earned it.