Instead, Lawrence will now make $31.1 million in 2019, as he is the fourth-highest-paid defensive player in terms of guaranteed money. He only trails Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears, Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, and Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Sources say that if a deal was not agreed upon, Lawrence would've skipped the team's off-season program, organized team activities, minicamp, training camp, and possibly even regular season games.
The negotiations heated up on Thursday after Lawrence had a phone conversation with the team's executive vice president Stephen Jones. The defensive powerhouse played under a $17.1 million franchise tag in 2018, finishing with 10.5 sacks and 39 quarterback pressures, en route to his second straight Pro Bowl appearance. He also added 47 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles, just one season after putting up 14.5 sacks. That makes him the first Cowboy with consecutive double-digit sacks season since DeMarcus Ware did it in 2011 and 2012, as he ranks fourth in the NFL in sacks over the past two seasons.
Despite the success last season, he was playing through a shoulder injury that is next on his list to take care of. Lawrence will undergo shoulder surgery during the off-season that will keep him out until training camp, but should not affect his playing time come the 2019 season.