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Report: DeMarcus Lawrence wants $17 million a year

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: DeMarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys sacks Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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The Cowboys are expected to use the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence if they can’t come to a long-term deal before March 6. Since they have not even begun talks with the defensive end’s agent, it seems unlikely the sides will come to an agreement in less than two weeks.

Negotiations will begin next week in Indianapolis with Lawrence seeking to become one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the game.

Tom Pelissero‏ of NFL Media reports that Lawrence is looking for Olivier Vernon money. The Giants defensive end is the league’s highest paid at his position, per overthecap.com, with a yearly average of $17 million. Jason Pierre-Paul’s contract averages $15.5 million to rank second, just ahead of Calais Campbell’s $15 million average.

The franchise tag would fully guarantee Lawrence $17.5 million in 2018 on a one-year deal.

Lawrence, 25, had a breakout season with 14.5 sacks and 52 quarterback pressures in 2017. He fulfilled owner Jerry Jones’ search for a “war daddy” pass rusher, something the Cowboys had lacked since cutting DeMarcus Ware.