DeMarcus Lawrence calls Cowboys’ initial $9 million pay cut request “disrespectful”

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DeMarcus Lawrence’s future with the Cowboys appeared in doubt when he turned down a pay cut earlier this offseason. But the sides worked things out, with the edge rusher signing a new three-year, $40 million deal that fully guarantees him $30 million.

All’s well that end’s well?

Lawrence pulled back the curtain on how it went down, leaving him initially upset with the team. He was scheduled to make $19 million in base salary in 2022, and Lawrence said the Cowboys asked him to take a $9 million pay cut.

“(Executive vice president Stephen Jones) sent me over a number and I’m like, ‘What is this shit, bro?’” Lawrence said on CBS’ “All Things Covered” podcast with Bryant McFadden and Patrick Peterson. “’Why are y’all sitting here playing with me.’ You don’t want to know (the number) man; it’s disrespectful. . . . I feel like it was disrespectful. I told them like, ‘Hey, man, the Cowboys have done a lot for me, and I thank y’all for everything y’all done, but I think it’s time for us to part ways, and I wish for y’all to cut me.’”

In an effort to keep Lawrence in Dallas, Lawrence’s agent, David Canter, constructed a new deal he presented to Stephen Jones.

“Stephen was like, ‘All right, I’m about to bring your offer to Jerry (Jones) to see what he says, but I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be pissed about it because he just gave you $65 million,’” Lawrence said. “My response was, ‘He ain’t give me shit. I earned it. Feel me? So if Jerry wants to keep me here, he has to understand this is what I’m worth, and I’m actually showing love and helping y’all out by offering y’all the relief in cap space.

“’So let’s go out here and have a fruitful free agency and pick up the guys we need in order to win a Super Bowl. Because if I’m not getting this number, I won’t be here to help.’ Jerry was like, ‘Shoot, D-Law has been faithful to us for the last seven or eight years, give him his money. Jerry came in and got it straight.’”

No team has received more negative publicity this offseason than the Cowboys, who, among other things, saw their public relations director resign last month before a 2015 voyeurism scandal became public. Lawrence’s comments came out on the same day his former teammate, Randy Gregory, agreed to a deal with the Cowboys and then changed his mind and signed with the Broncos. Gregory’s agent, Peter Schaffer, accused the Cowboys of adding a clause that wiped out guarantees in the event of a fine after Gregory agreed to the deal.

Lawrence, though, got what he wanted, becoming the NFL’s first defensive end to have his contract fully guaranteed for seven consecutive seasons.

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