Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence reportedly looking for $17 million a year in new deal

The Cowboys are expected to use the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, who would otherwise be a free agent next month. If he is tagged, the defensive end will make $17.5 million in 2018.

Not surprisingly, Lawrence is looking for a mult-year deal and according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, one that will pay him "Olivier Vernon money."

Specifically, that works out to $17 million annually. That would make Lawrence (and Olivier) the league's second-highest paid defensive end in terms of average salary, behind only Muhammad Wilkerson

If nothing else, the 2014 second-round pick has impeccable timing. Lawrence waited until his contract year to go off. In 16 starts, he had 14.5 sacks, one pass defended and four forced fumbles. Those eye-popping numbers came a year after he managed just one sack in nine games in an injury-shortened season. In 2015, Lawrence racked up eight sacks in 16 games, but played in just seven games as a rookie in 2014. The pattern -- injuries limiting his playing time one season followed by dominating performances the next -- have to be a concern for the Cowboys or would-be suitors should he make it to free agency. 

That said, pass rushers are arguably the most important position after franchise quarterback. And Pro Football Focus graded Lawrence as the NFL's second-best pass rusher in 2017 behind only Joey Bosa.

Interestingly, Spotrac.com doesn't think Lawrence is worth $17 million a year; they peg his calculated market value at five years and $70.4 million (which works out to $14 million annually). We'll have to wait to see if the Cowboys think Lawrence is worth that much; the two sides aren't expected to start negotiations until next week at the NFL combine.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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