Lawrence will make $17.1 million during the upcoming season after the Cowboys placed him under the franchise tag. He could potentially be a free agent next offseason.
As Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reported earlier this month, the two sides were in an "extended staredown" trying to agree on a new deal, with the player hoping for a five-year extension. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Saturday that he was expected to spend the year on the franchise tag.
Although this is a big jump from the $1.2 million Lawrence made in 2017, per Spotrac, he will have to prove this past season wasn't a fluke.
The 26-year-old is coming off by far the best year of his career, finishing tied for second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks, adding 58 tackles and four forced fumbles. NFL Research noted his ability to make an impact even when he didn't reach the quarterback:
However, Dallas appears hesitant to give too much guaranteed money to a player with a lot of question marks.
The 2014 second-round pick only had nine sacks in his first three seasons combined. He was suspended for four games at the start of 2016 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, while multiple back injuries also kept him off the field.
Turning potential into production in 2017 apparently wasn't enough to justify a long-term deal.
Still, Lawrence will get another chance to prove himself this season playing alongside a deep defensive line that also includes quality pass-rushers in David Irving, Tyrone Crawford and Taco Charlton. If he can earn his second Pro Bowl selection, he could be looking at a much bigger deal in 2019.