Cowboys' Lawrence: Will be ready for opener
FRISCO, Texas — Fresh off signing a five-year, $105 million deal that includes $65 million guaranteed, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder Wednesday.
Lawrence is looking at a four- to six-month rehabilitation process, which could put his return for the season opener in jeopardy.
But Lawrence said at a news conference at The Star on Tuesday that he’s not concerned about missing the opener. “I’ll be ready for the start of the season,” he said. “I’m not worried about it. It’s just about getting [the surgery] over with.”
A phone call between Cowboys brass and DeMarcus Lawrence and his agent helped lay the groundwork for the defensive end’s record-breaking deal.
To maintain harmony in the locker room and remain a Super Bowl threat, Dallas needed to reward its best pass-rusher with a lucrative contract.
Russell Wilson and Drew Brees need new contracts soon. Let’s predict what their new deals — and the other QB extensions — might look like.
Lawrence, who has had two back surgeries and a thumb operation, has played with the injury since the 2017 season but has not missed a game, recording 25 sacks and earning two Pro Bowl trips. While the Cowboys had until July 15 to sign Lawrence to a long-term deal, the timing of the surgery was a factor in speeding up the negotiations between the team and his agent, David Canter.
“We were aware of it, and I knew we were getting to a point where we needed to make it happen,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “I think DeMarcus was aware of that, too. I mean, he loves to play the game. Certainly, having that looming out there was probably important for both of us to really push and make the push we did there to get it done.”
Lawrence is likely to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. The Cowboys, however, can take him off the list at any point over the summer. If he were to start the season on PUP, he would miss the first six games of the season.
The plan is for Lawrence to work with associate athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation Britt Brown.
“We’ve got one of the best in the business in Britt Brown,” Jones said, “and he’ll be spending a lot of time with Britt and hopefully get him ready to go and be ready for the opener.”
WHAT. A. FEELING‼️ #DallasCowboys | #LawN90rder pic.twitter.com/2Xu3IKpOzs
— DeMarcus Lawrence (@TankLawrence) April 9, 2019
As for the financial windfall, Lawrence, who was joined by his parents, fiancée and son at Tuesday’s announcement, was grateful.
“The contract is a big accomplishment, but my goal is still to have a gold jacket,” Lawrence said, making reference to the Hall of Fame. “That’s what I’m hitting on. I’m so honored just to be a Cowboy and to be able to do it here. I’ve got a lot of work to keep doing. I’m just in my moment right now, so y’all got to excuse me.
“This is very special to me. But I’ve just got to keep building, keep building on my resume. You never know … they might give me a third contract or something.”
Lawrence’s $21 million average per year and $65 million guaranteed is the most in franchise history, but Jones acknowledged it might not last long as discussions with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are expected to heat up this spring and into training camp.
“When you’re getting ready to do a quarterback who is a franchise quarterback and already has put some serious skins on the wall like Dak has, no, probably not going to be there long,” Jones said of Lawrence’s financial marks. “But he can always say he held the mantle, albeit it might be a short time.”