Cowboys place franchise tag on DE Lawrence

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The Dallas Cowboys placed the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence on Monday, and the Pro Bowl defensive end quickly signed the one-year contract that guarantees him $17.1 million in 2018.

The Cowboys had until Tuesday to put the tag on Lawrence, who can still sign a long-term deal with the club that traded up him to get him early in the second round in 2014. Lawrence's agent, David Canter, wrote on Twitter that his client signed the deal.

Lawrence tied All-Pro Calais Campbell of Jacksonville for second in the NFL with 14 sacks last season. The 25-year-old's breakout year came after he struggled with injuries most of his first three seasons. He had back surgery each of the previous two offseasons.

On the one-year contract, Lawrence's salary would be the average of the NFL's five highest-paid defensive ends.

Lawrence is an important piece with the Cowboys trying to get back to the playoffs after missing at 9-7 a year after they had an NFC-best 13 wins before losing a divisional playoff to Green Bay.

The former Boise State player emerged for a Dallas defense that has lacked star power beyond 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee. Lawrence surpassed his previous career high of eight sacks in the fifth game.

Pass rushing was a problem for the Cowboys in each of their past two trips to the playoffs. In 2014, they finished 28th in sacks and couldn't get to a hobbled Aaron Rodgers in a divisional loss to the Packers after Lawrence clinched a wild-card win over Detroit with a sack of Matthew Stafford.


ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Raiders released pass rusher Aldon Smith after his latest run-in with the law.

The Raiders retained Smith's contractual rights even as he spent the past two seasons on the NFL's suspended list. But the team decided finally to cut ties one day after San Francisco police said authorities were searching for Smith in connection with a domestic violence allegation.

San Francisco police said an arrest warrant has been obtained for Smith stemming from allegations that Smith assaulted a woman on Saturday night. Smith left before police arrived to respond to the 911 call and authorities are working with Smith's attorney to arrange a time for him to surrender.

CHICAGO (AP) - Matt Forte plans to retire as a member of the Chicago Bears.

The two-time Pro Bowl running back told NBC Sports Chicago on Monday that he will sign a one-day contract so he can officially go out as a Bear. Forte announced last week he is calling it a career after 10 seasons.

A second-round draft pick out of Tulane in 2008, Forte spent his first eight seasons with Chicago and his last two with the New York Jets.


NEW YORK (AP) - Veteran play-by-play announcer Verne Lundquist will not be calling NCAA Tournament basketball games this year.

CBS and Turner Sports announced the commentator teams Monday for the men's basketball tournament, which starts next week. Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will continue to announce the Final Four and championship game. Those games, along with the tournament selection show on Sunday, will be televised on TBS.

Lundquist, 77, has been calling tournament games for CBS since 1998. He stopped calling the Southeastern Conference football game of the week on CBS after the 2016 season, but still did the NCAA Tournament and Masters golf in 2017.


JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Shortstop Paul DeJong and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a $26 million, six-year contract, a deal that includes team options for 2024 and 2025.

The 24-year-old made his major league debut last May 28 and hit .285 with a team-high 25 homers and 65 RBIs in 108 games. He was selected by St. Louis from Illinois St. in the fourth round of the 2015 amateur draft.

DeJong is 3 for 14 with a double and two RBIs in spring training this year.

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