Standout defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence finalized a five-year deal worth $105 million ($65 million guaranteed) with the Dallas Cowboys on Friday, but was he almost traded to the Kansas City Chiefs?
After talking with Lawrence’s agent, David Canter, Cowboys insider Mike Fisher said he thinks such a deal “probably had some legs” in an article for 24/7 Sports. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer was the first to say he heard that two AFC teams had interest in Lawrence; Fisher says that one of those teams was the Chiefs, and the other was the Indianapolis Colts.
FISHER: How substantive were those conversations? Because it was all “what-if’’-based, there is no way to know. It is easy to envision the Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus making a push for Tank; ‘Flus is a former Dallas top defensive aide, plus, the Colts entered free agency with volumes of cap room. By March 21, they’d signed Justin Houston, though, so that was probably the end of that. And the Chiefs? They’re the ones who let Houston go, after having traded Dee Ford. KC is moving to a 4-3 defense, and the guy they ended up signing, Alex Okafor (with 22 career sacks in six NFL seasons) is no Tank Lawrence.
Indeed. Over the course of the past two seasons, Lawrence has compiled 25.0 sacks in comparison to Okafor’s 8.5.
As our own Matt Lane explains in the KC Draft Guide (available now), new Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo prefers defensive ends who are 6 feet 3 or taller and more than 260 pounds. At 6 feet 3 and 265, Lawrence fits the description.
So what happened? If Fisher’s speculation is true, the Chiefs and Cowboys probably could not agree to compensation — Lawrence is set to have surgery on a torn labrum this week, yet I’m sure the Cowboys still would have expected a premium pick in return. When trading for a player who had been franchise-tagged like Lawrence, a new deal would have had to have been in place before the trade was made official (like we saw when San Francisco traded for Dee Ford). A lot has to happen for such a trade to work.
What I take away from the speculative news is a confirmation of what I felt was already obvious. By almost trading for a premier pass rusher like Lawrence, the Chiefs clearly view the EDGE position as a priority.
That is a strength of this draft class, but if Kansas City wants a day-one starter with elite potential, they will almost assuredly have to trade up from No. 29 to get it done.