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Demarcus Lawrence reportedly will get franchise tag if long-term deal not signed

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence picked a fine time to have a breakout season.

Lawrence, a 2014 second-round pick, had nine sacks in his first three NFL seasons. Then in his fourth season, he posted 14.5 sacks, right before he could hit free agency. Now he’s reportedly going to get either a long-term deal from the Cowboys or the franchise tag.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys won’t let Lawrence test free agency. David Moore of the Morning News said Lawrence won’t get the franchise tag on Tuesday, the first day that option is available to teams, but he will get it before March 6 if a long-term deal can’t be worked out. That has been the expectation all along, because the Cowboys aren’t letting Lawrence walk away just as he emerged as one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. Last season the franchise tag for defensive ends was a little less than $17 million.

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Both sides will want to get a long-term deal done. Lawrence wants long-term security, and the franchise tag is for just one year. The Cowboys will have more cap space for other free-agent moves if Lawrence has a long-term deal in place. It will be challenging to come to a deal that satisfies both sides, but the Cowboys have a couple weeks to get it done before slapping the franchise tag on Lawrence. And if no deal is done before then, the two sides can keep working on a long-term deal until the July deadline for tagged players.

No matter what, unless something changes before March 6, Lawrence can sleep well knowing he’ll have about $17 million coming to him this year, and maybe a lot more.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence made the Pro Bowl last season. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!