Cowboys DE Lawrence 'not worrying' about contract, tag

ORLANDO -- Dallas Cowboys game-wrecking defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence is in for a huge payday after a 14.5-sack season.

After Pro Bowl practice on Wednesday, Lawrence said he's not fretting about his contract status heading into free agency.

"I'm not worrying about that, my agent handles all that," he told NFL.com. "It will get done eventually, so I'm not worrying about my contract. I'm trying to have a good time with this group of guys [in Orlando] and my family while I'm here."

Lawrence said he's comfortable if the Cowboys decide to use the franchise tag on him if sides can't agree on a deal before the Feb. 13 deadline.

"Franchise not bad. Contract not bad," the 25-year-old said. "So, like I said, I'm not worrying about nothing. I'll leave it up to my agent, he'll take care of me."

At the Senior Bowl this week, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team would prefer not to use the franchise tag if possible.

"Our first goal is to sign him to a long-term deal, obviously," Stephen Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "To me, the only reason you use a franchise tag is to hopefully protect yourself if you can't get a long-term deal signed that you like. That's normally the route we like to go.

"Certainly, we're going to roll up our sleeves and see if we can do something with Demarcus without having a franchise tag."

Utilizing the franchise tag (at around $17 million) as a placeholder would be a no-brainer move for the Cowboys as they work toward a new contract with their most vital pass-rusher. Pro Football Focus graded Lawrence their No. 3 overall 4-3 defensive end and No. 2 pass rusher at the position for 2017.

Lawrence said he's focused on building on his spectacular season, with the goal of getting the Cowboys back to the postseason.

"I'm just trying to build a legacy for myself, and also to help my team win more games and hopefully get to the Super Bowl next year," he said. "That's the main thing. If I'm the only one that's winning in a team sport, I'm not winning. So the main thing is to make sure as a group of guys we get better as the Dallas Cowboys and that's what we're doing."