Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports the Cowboys asked Lawrence to take a pay cut, and he declined. That could have Lawrence heading elsewhere.
In 2014, the Cowboys released edge rusher DeMarcus Ware after he refused a pay cut.
It has long been anticipated the Cowboys would have a decision about Lawrence’s future. Lawrence is scheduled to make $19 million in base salary and count $27 million against the cap, the fifth-highest cap number in the league at his position. His release, if he’s designated a post-June 1 cut, would save the Cowboys $19 million against their cap in 2022 with $8 million in dead money.
Lawrence earned a five-year, $105 million extension in April 2019 after back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons. He had 14.5 sacks, 26 quarterback hits and 14 tackles for loss in 2017 and 10.5 sacks, 23 quarterback hits and 15 tackles for loss in 2018.
He has not been the same player since.
In 39 games over the past three seasons, he has a total of 14.5 sacks, 33 quarterback hits, 26 tackles for loss and no Pro Bowls.
He played only seven games in 2021 after breaking his foot in practice the week after the opener.
The team’s other starting defensive end, Randy Gregory, is a free agent, which complicates the team’s decision.