Jerry Jones: DeMarcus Lawrence contract in the works

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The Dallas Cowboys have unfinished business when it comes to taking care of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

The team used the franchise tag on Lawrence in early March, but in a deadline-driven league, owner Jerry Jones doesn't appear to be sweating over when a long-term contract will get done.

"It's in the works," Jones said Monday at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, via the Cowboys' official website. "We're communicating. That's what you've got until you actually meet to sign the contract."

There should be incentive for the Cowboys to get something done by the league-wide deadline of July 15 to work out long-term deals with franchised players. Lawrence might not sign the tag, which would pay him a little more than $20 million in 2019.

The Cowboys have slapped the franchise designation on Lawrence in two straight years, and he made $17.1 million last season while playing under the tag.

Long-term stability for both parties, however, is taken into consideration for any contract discussions this year.

"This is a significant thing for not only our franchise but DeMarcus' life," Jones said. "It would make anyone be very, very judicious as they are working through the terms of this agreement. So the fact we don't have something done today is not inordinate when you look at the things that are at stake here."

In the meantime, there should be little doubt what Lawrence means to one of the NFL's top defensive units and his place among the league's elite pass rushers.

Lawrence totaled 25 sacks, 49 quarterback hits and forced six fumbles over the past two seasons, earning consecutive Pro Bowl selections in that span.

Keeping Lawrence's production in Dallas must be a priority. And as long as the communication lines are open, that's a good thing.

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