Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is reportedly looking at a four-game suspension in the near future, per David Moore of SportsDay.
“The Cowboys have not been notified of the impending suspension, which means Lawrence and his representatives are in the process of challenging the ruling,” Moore writes. “But several sources said all indications are that the club will be without its starting left defensive end to open the season.”
Lawrence is reportedly facing the ban because he violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Entering his third year, he blossomed with eight sacks last season and is one of the most promising young defensive linemen the Cowboys have cultivated in years. He’s not the only talented defender to get into trouble this offseason, either.
Just two months ago, the Cowboys watched another promising young player, Randy Gregory, get hit with a four-game suspension for the same issue (read more here).
Suddenly, Dallas is looking at a situation where two top pass-rushers won’t be there to open the season. And it’s not a guarantee that this won’t happen again, at least as it concerns Gregory, who has a history of substance abuse.
This could certainly impact the team’s draft strategy. Instead of using a top pick to go after a top running back, quarterback, safety or receiver, Dallas must now consider drafting a defensive end like Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner or Shaq Lawson.
Otherwise the defense will be stuck in a position where a porous secondary that needs help won’t have any help from the pass rush, which won’t be nearly as effective without Lawrence and Gregory.