DeMarcus Lawrence may not be the highest-paid Dallas Cowboys player in history for long. It doesn’t mean the club’s best defensive end can’t enjoy the distinction while it lasts.
The 26-year-old Lawrence signed a $105 million, five-year contract Tuesday. He then was asked repeatedly to try to reflect on what it means to have a $21 million-per-year average that tops retired quarterback Tony Romo, pass rushing predecessor and franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware and receiver Dez Bryant before him.
Lawrence said he had “so many emotions right now” as his parents, fiancee and young son watched from the room where coach Jason Garrett holds his daily news conferences during the season.
The Cowboys have several young stars with paydays coming, headlined by quarterback Dak Prescott. Executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones wasn’t shy in suggesting that Prescott is likely to replace Lawrence whenever he signs.
Prescott is in the final year of a rookie deal that pays the fourth-round pick $2 million. That’s more than three times Prescott’s salary from the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year’s second Pro Bowl season in 2018.