FRISCO, Texas -- DeMarcus Lawrence has agreed to a three-year, $40 million deal that includes $30 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN, in a new contract that will provide the Dallas Cowboys salary-cap relief this year.
Lawrence's future with the team had been in question with a $27 million salary-cap figure and the Cowboys needing to find room just to get under the cap, but the sides were able to work out a deal that keeps him in Dallas through at least 2024.
Lawrence's $27 million cap figure would have been the fifth-highest hit of any defensive player in 2022. Instead, under the new deal, the cap hit will be $14 million this year then $26 million in 2023 and $16 million in 2024. He also receives a $12 million signing bonus.
The Cowboys now will have more space to keep their own free agents, including safeties Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker as well as defensive end Randy Gregory, who has received early interest from multiple teams, including the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.
In 2019, Lawrence signed a five-year, $101 million deal that included $65 million in guaranteed money. After adding a voidable year on to the deal in 2020, the Cowboys tore up the final three years of the original deal in exchange for the new contract.
Lawrence is the heart and soul of the Cowboys' defense. Since posting 14.5 and 10.5 sacks in 2017 and 2018 that saw him land the franchise tag twice, he has not had more than 6.5 sacks in a season. He was limited to seven games in 2021 after undergoing foot surgery following the season opener. He finished with three sacks, five pass deflections, an interception, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles, with the coaches crediting him with 18 tackles.
Over the past five seasons, Lawrence has the fifth-best pass rush win rate (24.9%), the fifth-best pressure rate (11.7%) and 206 pressures (seventh best in the league).
The Cowboys hope to have Lawrence back with Micah Parsons (who had 13 sacks as a rookie) and Gregory (who matched his career high with six sacks) in 2022 during Dan Quinn's second year as their defensive coordinator.
Without the cap space gained from Lawrence, keeping Gregory might have been more difficult or forced the Cowboys to make more roster moves.