While all the talk surrounds their running back, it’s the Dallas Cowboys‘ star quarterback who may soon cash in.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports “there’s an emerging sense in league circles that, at some point this week,” the Cowboys will sign Dak Prescott to a multi-year contract extension that might make him the league’s highest-paid signal-caller, as per his wishes.
It’s not a report; it’s a recognition of the common-sense dynamics that currently are unfolding. If Prescott doesn’t take the best offer the Cowboys will put on the table before the weekend, Prescott will be walking away from $90 million or more in guaranteed money to play for $2 million.
One league source suggested that it would be “professional malpractice” for Prescott to not embrace the insurance that comes from a long-term deal for only $2 million in salary.
Prescott is entering the final year of the four-year rookie contract he inked in 2016. He’s due $2.025 million in base salary and will count $2.12 million against the team’s salary cap.
Prescott reportedly is seeking $40 million annually on his next deal, which would be a historic NFL feat, dwarfing the $35 million that Seattle’s Russell Wilson is due for 2019. The Cowboys, with over $20 million in available cap room, possess the means with which to placate their franchise passer.
But the question becomes: Will they?
Aside from Ezekiel Elliott, whose holdout is approaching 40 days, wide receiver Amari Cooper — unsigned beyond this season — and cornerback Byron Jones are also pining for extensions. This, after Dallas just rewarded linebacker Jaylon Smith with a five-year, $63.75 million pact.
Then again, owner Jerry Jones is already on record as admitting that Prescott deserves the pretty pennies. The problem is, and has been, settling on a mutually agreeable amount.
“Again, coming up on the money is really not that issue with Dak,” Jones said this preseason, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A lot of people question whether Dak is one of the guys who need to be in the top tier. I have never questioned that. That is what this is showing you. I don’t think there is any doubt that he is at the top level of paid quarterbacks. There is no question in my mind about that. Now how we make this all fit to have the best team around him, that is what we are trying to work on.”
Prescott enjoyed an extremely efficient preseason despite the absence of Elliott, Cooper and several starting linemen. He went 11-of-14 for 119 yards and one touchdown in three mostly-limited exhibition appearances, completing 100 percent of his balls in Dallas’ first two games — a loss to the 49ers (4-for-4) and win over the Rams (5-for-5).
“I feel great,” Prescott said of his preseason work, via Maven Sports’ Mike Fisher. “I’m in the position I want to be in. I feel the best that I’ve ever felt, from every aspect of the quarterback position going into Week 1.”
Dallas opens its 2019 campaign Sunday against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.
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On Monday, NFL Network’s Jane Slater echoed Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson’s discouraging hearsay, claiming that discussions between Elliott and the “frustrated” Cowboys continued Sunday evening but ultimately didn’t move the needle on the two-time Pro Bowler’s desire to top Todd Gurley as the league’s richest RB.
“When I asked what’s holding it up the answer was the same as last month ‘everything,'” Slater tweeted.
In a possible indication the sides suffered a genuine snag in negotiations, the team on Monday promoted running back Jordan Chunn from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, according to ESPN. Chunn joins rookie “starter” Tony Pollard and veteran Alfred Morris in Dallas’ Zeke-less (for now) backfield.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL