As expected, the Dallas Cowboys have used the franchise tag on star pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, which means he will not hit free agency on March 14. Dallas turned in the paperwork to the NFL on Monday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.


The deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise tag is on Tuesday. The Cowboys' move was news to Lawrence, who learned via Twitter that he is getting tagged.


Dallas never had any intention of allowing Lawrence to hit the open market and were ready to use the franchise tag if a long-term deal could not be reached by Tuesday's deadline.

"We won't let D-Law not be a Dallas Cowboy next year," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month. "We'll do everything we can to try to make something work, and if we don't get it done, then we'll franchise tag him. Then we'll go back to work."

The Cowboys now have until July 16 to complete a long-term extension with Lawrence. After that, he will have to play under the one-year franchise tag deal and cannot negotiate a new contract until after the 2018 season.

Lawrence, who played college football at Boise State, was a second-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2014. He had 58 combined tackles, a career-high 14.5 sacks, 52 quarterback pressures, and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance this past season. In 2015, Lawrence had 55 combined tackles and eight sacks.

Lawrence, who will turn 26 in April, started his rookie season on injured reserve with a fractured foot and did not see action until Week 9. He has had two back surgeries during his career, and his health has been a concern.