Dallas Cowboys sign star DE Demarcus Lawrence to contract extension

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Owner Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are putting in a lot of work ahead of their Week 1 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday evening.

It might not show up on the field, but this work will have create salary cap flexibilty at a time of economic uncertainty around the league due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now have the latest example of this.

Cowboys sign Demarcus Lawrence to extension, save a lot of money

According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Dallas has inked the Pro Bowl defensive end to a one-year voidable contract extension, converting $15 of his 2020 base salary into a signing bonus. This moves saves Dallas $12 million against the cap.

Before Cowboys fans get too excited about the possibility of adding a high-end player in a trade, this move is meant to roll the $12 million cap savings to next season.

It’s no small thing. Per an agreement with the Players’ Association, the NFL’s salary cap is expected to decrease by about $25 million next season due to the revenue downfall created by the pandemic. Dallas is setting itself up well to make sure that doesn’t impact them. This is only one of a few similar moves.

  • Zack Martin: Restructured his contract to convert $10 million of 2020 base into a signing bonus, saving $8 million against the cap.
  • Tyron Smith: Restructured his contract to convert $8.9 million of 2020 base into a signing bonus, saving $6.7 million against the cap.

Together, these three moves create nearly $28 million in cap room. Some of that was used to sign recently-reinstated defensive end Randy Gregory to a one-year extension. With that said, it’s about a whole lot more than that.

Cowboys setting up massve Dak Prescott contract extension?

The backdrop here is real. Prescott will be playing under the one-year, $31.4 million franchise tag after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on an extension ahead of the deadline this past summer.

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Things were definitely contentious between Prescott and his Cowboys. That’s especially true given the record-breaking contract we saw Patrick Mahomes sign with the Kansas City Chiefs during the spring.

Once Deshaun Watson inked his massive deal with the Texans, it became clear that the Cowboys were going to have to dish out about $40 million annually to retain Prescott over the long term. These moves are a step in the right direction as it relates to that.

Though, Prescott won’t be able to sign a new deal until after the 2020 campaign. Hence, why the Cowboys plan on rolling these cap savings over to next season.