The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence with a new contract that will create more space under the salary cap, a person with knowledge of the deal said Monday.

Lawrence’s reworked deal is worth $40 million over three years with $30 million guaranteed, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement.

The Cowboys’ best hope of keeping both Lawrence and unrestricted free agent Randy Gregory was to lower Lawrence’s cap. The original $27 million figure of the five-year, $105 million deal he signed in 2019 has been cut by about half.

Lawrence signed the big deal after back-to-back seasons with double-digit sacks. These are the only two years of his career. Lawrence was limited to seven games last season after breaking his foot in training the week after the opener.

The Cowboys have been busy with ceiling maneuvers in free agency. The new Lawrence deal comes two days after Dallas traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to Cleveland, a move that saved $16 million in cap space.

Dallas re-signed wide receiver Michael Gallup to a five-year, $62.5 million deal. Trying to keep Gregory is the next big problem.

While Lawrence has been a leader in Dallas’ pass rush and a focal point for defenses, oft-suspended Gregory has had a productive and drama-free 2021 season. The Cowboys are hoping for a reduction after supporting Gregory through the issues that plagued his first four seasons.

If the Cowboys can keep Gregory, the most important parts of Dan Quinn’s unit will return for the defensive coordinator’s second season. NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Micah Parsons is the centerpiece as a rushing linebacker.

Lawrence has 48 1/2 sacks in eight seasons, but is coming off his least in five seasons with just three in 2021. The broken foot ended a four-year streak in which he appeared in every season game regular.


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