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DeMarcus Lawrence aims to be in Dallas 'long-term'

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones made it clear the team is comfortable giving a long-term deal to defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

Lawrence, who is eligible for free agency in March, politely declined Wednesday to discuss his contract situation with NFL.com as he exited the practice field at the Pro Bowl.

But Lawrence is certainly willing to hear whatever Jones and the Cowboys have in mind.

"I'm trying to do that long-term deal, too," Lawrence said. "Just tell Stephen to hit me up when he's ready, man. I mean, he already knows what's up with me."

Lawrence played the 2018 season under a franchise tag, which paid a base salary of $17.1 million, and only added to his argument for a lucrative deal with 10.5 sacks, marking the second consecutive season he recorded double-digit sacks and made the Pro Bowl.

While Lawrence told Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News that he will undergo offseason shoulder surgery, the injury apparently won't prevent Lawrence from participating in the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys have a major decision to make on Lawrence with a little more than a month and a half before the start of the league's new calendar year, which signals the start of free agency. And one of the options the team could mull if a long-term deal can't be agreed upon surrounds another use of the franchise tag.

Whatever happens between Lawrence and the Cowboys should reset the looming market, where NFL.com currently ranks the star pass rusher as the top potential free agent.

And with Lawrence's emergence over the past two seasons, the Cowboys defense has joined the NFL's elite units, so it more than makes sense to keep him in place.

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