The Dallas Cowboys have their hands full before the start of the regular season.
While the Cowboys don’t open up their 2019 regular season schedule until September 8, they have several things to take care of before then. All three of their most pressing issues revolve around the contract matters of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper, with none bigger than the current situation involving the franchise quarterback.
So what exactly are the roadblocks preventing Prescott and the Cowboys from reaching an agreement on a new deal?
Here’s everything you need to know regarding negotiations involving both sides.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dak Prescott Reportedly Wants $40 Million per Season
Prescott has made headlines as of late due to his desire to earn $40 million per season. Yes, you read that right. The 26-year-old quarterback recently turned down the Cowboys’ offer of $30 million per season, according to The Athletic’s Michael Lombardi, with the reported desire to earn $10 million more per season.
For perspective, just two quarterbacks in the NFL will earn more than $40 million in cash in 2019 — none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ Ben Roethlisberger ($45 million) and the Atlanta Falcons‘ Matt Ryan ($44.75 million), according to Spotrac.
For comparison’s sake, Roethlisberger is about to enter his 16th season and has won two Super Bowls, appeared in three of them and is a six-time Pro Bowler. In regards to Ryan, he’s a former NFL MVP who is entering his 12th season and is a four-time Pro Bowler and a former First-Team All-Pro. Both players have been two of the best quarterbacks in the league over the past decade.
On the other end of that equation is Prescott, who desires to be paid in the same range as the aforementioned two. The fourth-year quarterback is a two-time Pro Bowler who has led the Cowboys to division titles in two of his three years as the starting quarterback. However, although he plays the top position in football — 12 of the league’s top-paid players are quarterbacks — he’s not even the most important player on offense.
That distinction belongs to Elliott and one could even argue that the second-most important skill position player is Cooper, who made a major difference in escalating the offense midway through the 2018 season. The 25-year-old Cooper caught 53 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns in just nine games with the Cowboys.
I think we all know that Prescott’s value to the Cowboys is not the same as Roethlisberger’s to the Steelers or Ryan’s to the Falcons. However, this is a guy who is just entering his prime — along with the aforementioned Eliott and Cooper — playing the most important position in all of football.
Dak Prescott’s Resume Is Better Than Carson Wentz
Most importantly, all he does is win. He has yet to have a losing record in three of his seasons as a starter and he has compiled a 32-16 record. By comparison, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Carson Wentz has compiled a 23-17 record while being unable to stay healthy. He’s had his season end in each of the last two seasons due to injuries and has yet to even appear in a playoff game.
Wentz, a member of the same draft class as Prescott, recently signed a four-year, $128 million contract extension with $107 million guaranteed. In other words, Wentz is earning $32 million per season despite having less success on the field than Prescott.
Dak Prescott Is Due to Earn Just $2 Million This Season
It’s understandable why Prescott would command a little more than his market value. In three seasons with the Cowboys, the former fourth-round draft selection has earned just $1.8 million in total earnings.
Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Prescott is due to earn just $2 million. The bottom line is, the Cowboys are getting a lot more out of this deal than Prescott.
The fact that the Mississippi State product was selected with a late-round draft selection, his reputation as a game manager and the widely-accepted notion that Elliott and Cooper are more important pieces to the Cowboys’ puzzle undoubtedly hurts Prescott’s leverage in contract negotiations.
Will Dak Prescott Sign a New Deal With the Cowboys?
Now that we’ve covered all of the bases regarding Prescott’s contract situation with the Cowboys, what can we expect moving forward with three weeks left to go in the regular season?
The bottom line is this — Prescott will receive a new deal before the start of the season from the Cowboys. Although he’s the third-most important player on offense, he plays the most important position in all of football.
He won’t be receiving $40 million per season on his new contract, but that’s merely a negotiation tactic. Both the Cowboys and Prescott know that he’s not worth that kind of money. However, he should receive a new deal worth more than the $32 million per season that Wentz is currently earning.
Why is that?
Because you know damn well that owner Jerry Jones is going to want to make his franchise quarterback happy. More importantly, he’s going to show his appreciation by outdoing the contract offered to the Eagles’ Wentz. What better way to show your loyalty than to offer a better contract than one from a division rival?
For the first time since Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irving teamed up to lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowls in the 90’s, Dallas has a young trio to build around on offense.
With Dallas shaping up to be an annual Super Bowl contender — one reminiscent of the dynasty from the 90’s — there’s no reason to believe that Prescott won’t be signed to a new deal before the start of the regular season.
READ NEXT: NFL Decides Fate of Patriots WR Josh Gordon
Follow D.J. Siddiqi on Twitter @DJSiddiqi