Natl. Sports Headlines for Tuesday, March 6th:
Lawrence franchised by Cowboys…Falcons extend Bryant…Raiders part with Aldon Smith
UNDATED (AP) – DeMarcus Lawrence has received the franchise tag from the Dallas Cowboys, guaranteeing the Pro Bowl defensive end $17.5 million in 2018. Lawrence can still sign a long-term deal with the club that traded up him to get him early in the second round in 2014. He tied All-Pro Calais Campbell of Jacksonville for second in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks last year after struggling with injuries his first three seasons.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) – The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with kicker Matt Bryant, eight days before he would have become a free agent. Bryant has hit 88.1 of his field goal attempts during his nine seasons with the Falcons, making 230 of 261 while missing just two of 340 extra points. He was 34 of 39 in field goals last season, including eight of nine from at least 50 yards.
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Raiders have stopped waiting for Aldon Smith to clean up his personal life, releasing the pass rusher one day after his latest run-in with the law. San Francisco police said authorities were searching for Smith in connection with a domestic violence allegation. He has been on the suspended list since November 2015 for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.
UNDATED (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals have worked out a six-year, $26 million package with shortstop Paul DeJong, a deal that includes club options for 2024 and ’25. 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. DeJong was a fourth-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2015 amateur draft.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Iona has earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tourney for the third straight year. Roland Griffin scored a career-high 29 points and Zach Lewis had 20 as the Gaels beat Fairfield, 83-71. Griffin and Lewis combined for 30 points in helping Iona take a 43-37 halftime lead.