Cowboys make offer to DeMarcus Lawrence, hopeful for long-term deal

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Dallas Cowboys have made their first offer to defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and executive vice president Stephen Jones is hopeful that a long-term deal can be reached with the Pro Bowl defensive end.

"I'm confident we'll get a deal done," Jones said in a break between competition committee meetings in Indianapolis. "I don't know the timing, but I'm very confident we can get a deal done. Everybody's on the record, from Jerry [Jones] to myself to Jason Garrett to Will [McClay], on what we think of D-Law."

The Cowboys have until March 5 to get a multiyear deal done with Lawrence before having to use the franchise tag. They will meet with Lawrence's agent, David Canter, later this week during the NFL scouting combine.

"It's the last day you've got to tag him, but at the end of the day, we know it's not over if it doesn't get done by then. I hate to put deadlines on anything," Stephen Jones said. "Would we like to get it done? I'd like to have it done yesterday. We've just got to continue to work."

If the Cowboys use the tag on Lawrence for a second straight year, there is a real threat he will not show up for the offseason program, organized team activities, minicamp or training camp and could miss regular-season games. He made $17.1 million on the tag last season and earned a second straight Pro Bowl appearance, with 10.5 sacks.

Jones would not comment on the threat of Lawrence skipping out on the work.

Without a deal in place by March 5, the Cowboys will tag Lawrence at a cost of $20.5 million, but the hope is that it would serve as a placeholder as talks continued. They would need to get a multiyear offer done by July 15 or Lawrence would be forced to play on the tag in 2019.

In 2015, the Cowboys put the franchise tag on wide receiver Dez Bryant, who missed almost all of the offseason work before signing a five-year, $70 million deal moments before the July deadline.

"Hopefully we'll have some very thoughtful and meaningful conversations and make some progress," Jones said.