Who can fill in for DeMarcus Lawrence if he sits out the 2020 season?
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the NFL to scramble with how to continue a season safely. Because of the risks, and family matters, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence announced that there is a possibility that he will sit out of training camp.
With no clear plan on how the NFL season will continue through the pandemic, players may sit out the season. Let’s say he does end up sitting out this season, or even part of it, who can fill in for him?
If Lawrence ends up sitting out the entire season, then what will happen to his contract with the Cowboys? Will his cap hit still apply? Will his contract be wiped for this season? First, let’s look at players that can fill in if Lawrence’s contract still counts against the cap.
The Cowboys are taking a chance on defensive end Aldon Smith, who hasn’t played an NFL game since 2015. While he hasn’t played for a long time, being a disruptive force was second nature.
In a total of 49 games, Smith accumulated 47.5 sacks and 180 tackles. His best season yet came in 2012 when he sacked the quarterback 19.5 times, made 66 tackles, and was named a first-team All-Pro.
The former first-round pick was known for being quick off the edge with a physical punch. To keep up with that style of play, it is expected that he remained in tip-top shape.
New head coach Mike McCarthy got the chance to see how physically ready Smith is to return. He was so impressed that he said Smith was in better shape now than when he was with the San Francisco 49ers.
McCarthy is saying Smith is in better shape now than when he was a first-team All-Pro. That is saying a lot, and it should get Cowboys fans excited. Although being a great player is more than being a great athlete, it sure helps.
No, Smith will not replicate the numbers of DeMarcus Lawrence. I mean, maybe he can match his 2019 stats, but not any stat lines before that. Even more, Smith will not be able to have the same impact on the field as Lawrence.
While Smith is used to playing on the right side, he did play on the left when he was with the Oakland Raiders. Is putting up 5.0 sacks and 40 tackles good enough to at least minimize Lawrence’s absence? Probably not, but then again there are only so many options.