FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence calls the $17.1 million franchise tag for 2018 he signed on Monday a potential gift and a curse.
But he has no time for the negativity of what might happen if he doesn't follow his breakout season in 2017 when he registered 14.5 sacks with another big year.
He is not mad at the process.
But rather, he is using the tag as motivation to secure the long-term deal that he long wanted and make more money than he ever dreamed.
"It means I get another opportunity to showcase my skills and solidify a long-term deal," Lawrence said Tuesday. "But it's a gift and a curse. I have the possibility and going out and getting hurt. It's a gift because if I put those stats up and be the person you know you are and you have a chance to get paid more. I have the opportunity to go out and make more money than I ever dreamed of."
That's the goal and that's why Lawrence has no plans of making any special purchases in 2018 even though he will make $17.1 million. He has bigger plans and bigger goals in mind.
"I am going to chill and wait until I get a long-term deal," Lawrence said.
He wants to be known as the best defensive end in the league and not just one-hit wonder.
And that's starts with continued hard. He says he will participate in the team's offseason program and mini camp.
His agent David Canter has until July 16 to negotiate a long-term deal but the two sides remain far apart and Lawrence knows his best chance of securing it is by putting up another great season.
He had nine sacks his first three seasons combined while playing through a number of injuries, including a broken foot in 2014 and a bulging disc in 2015 and 2016 that required off season surgery.
Finally healthy, Lawrence broke out in 2017. He had 52 quarterback pressures to go along with the 14.5 sacks, earning his first Pro Bowl.
His focus now is on going back to work.
"Just cause I got the tag doesn't mean I am going to change who I am," Lawrence said. "I'm going to be true to my teammates. I want to be a consistent player and be the best defensive end in the league."
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