The dynamic pass rusher doesn't want to be hit with the franchise tag for the second year in a row. Yet, if the Cowboys can't lock down a long-term deal by the tag deadline on March 5, would they allow the 26-year-old to test free agent waters? It seems unlikely.
The dynamic has sprouted speculation that there could be growing animosity between the player and team. It's speculation owner Jerry Jones doused on Tuesday.
"None," Jones said when asked if there was any discontent, via the Dallas Morning News. "There's just absolutely none, as far as I'm concerned. It's one of the best relationships I have or ever had with a player. The relationship is outstanding."
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that sides are not actively negotiating right now. Pelissero added that Lawrence does not plan to sign the franchise tag if tendered again.
The player's rationale leads to a March 5 deadline before things come to a head.
Jones declined to put a timetable on the process.
"I'm not going to get into any of our strategy, and it is strategic," Jones said. "DeMarcus is certainly a significant part of now and the future. But we're in the stages of planning on all of our personnel."
After playing under the $17.143 million franchise tender in 2018, Lawrence's tag in 2019 would be north of $20 million. That is where the bargaining starts. Lawrence's agent could also argue the pass rusher would see at least that much per year if he hit the open market.
If a long-term deal doesn't come to fruition in the next two weeks, and the Cowboys are forced to use the tag, it could set up a Le'Veon Bell-type staredown, wherein the player skips at least a portion of the season. Dallas hopes it doesn't come to that.