FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence both feel fortunate after the two-time Pro Bowler signed his contract extension worth $105 million over five years: The club for locking up their war daddy for the foreseeable future, and Lawrence for being the highest paid player in franchise history.
"First off, I want to say thank you to the Mr. Joneses, thank you to [agent] David [Canter]. Basically thank you to God for just putting me into this position in my life today," said Lawrence. "It's truly just a blessing to be here."
The contract negotiations were challenging, and even Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones admitted that sometimes they had to remind themselves that they were on the same side in these negotiations.
For the Cowboys, the problem was how they were going to find a way to extend Lawrence, extend quarterback Dak Prescott, ink receiver Amari Cooper, and retain cornerback Byron Jones, all four of whom were in the last year of their respective contracts. And that didn't even factor in running back Ezekiel Elliott, who does have a fifth-year option to give the Dallas front office a reprieve until 2021.
Lawrence and Canter's position was firm: The Joneses' quandary on how to keep all that talent wasn't Lawrence's problem. He felt he was worth a certain value and wanted to be paid that amount.
"That's one thing that players don't like to see," Lawrence explained, "people with less talent, less playmaking skills getting paid more than them. So, like, I said, it was truly a blessing to be able to get this deal done and be a Cowboy for a long time."
Owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones was unable to attend the press conference in person, but his voice echoed throughout the room via conference call as he was at a NFL meeting. Jones stated that they had every intention to keep Lawrence as a Cowboy.
"There was never a doubt that we were going to have DeMarcus on this team, never," said Jones. "But certainly in order to get this deal done it's part of a major plan that we have to have talent here, and to have that talent on the field as we look forward to the next year, two years, three years, four years down the road."
Coach Jason Garrett characterized Lawrence as one of the team's "cornerstone players" and someone that represents what they look for in a Cowboy.
"We talked an awful lot about cornerstone players, building the team through the draft, with the guys that are going to be here through their first contract and their second contract, be here for 10 years, and represent everything that we want, and there is no doubt in our minds that DeMarcus Lawrence is one of those guys," said Garrett.
The Cowboys traded their second-round and third-round picks in the 2014 NFL draft to select Lawrence in the second-round from Boise State. In his five seasons in Dallas, Lawrence has recorded 200 combined tackles, 34.0 sacks, 48 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles, and a five fumble recoveries. He has even added two pass deflections, an interception, and a safety in his 64 career games out of a possible 80.
"I know the Hot Boyz are waiting for me," Lawrence said. "I've been waiting to get back with them. Just waiting to get back on that field. Just truly blessed and truly thankful."
Lawrence said he would have surgery Wednesday to repair his torn labrum, an injury that he has labored with for the past two seasons. The recovery time from that type of surgery is anywhere between three and four months, which at its longest estimation, would have Lawrence ready for the first preseason game.
"I will definitely be ready for the start of the season," said Lawrence. "I'm not worried about that. It's just getting done and over with. That's all it is."
Like the surgery, the contract extension is done and over with. Now, the Cowboys and Lawrence look forward to settling unfinished business from their previous five seasons together.
Now that DeMarcus Lawrence has signed an extension, which Cowboys player do you think should be next to get locked up long term? Let your opinion be heard with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.