After stating earlier this month his intention to “land the plane and get his deal done,” Jones claimed a new contract for the franchise quarterback is his “No. 1 priority” over the coming weeks.
“It’s been urgent for us,” Jones said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl, via Pro Football Talk. “We certainly want to get that done. That’s our No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason is to . . . hopefully find some resolution to it and get that done.”
The sides, Jones previously revealed, were on the precipice of an agreement before the start of the 2019 campaign. And although talks eventually crumbled, creating a nationally-documented standstill, Dallas aims to reach an accord with its “quarterback of the future,” who’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 18.
“That’s on Jerry and myself. He’s our future,” Jones said on Jan. 10. “I think he stepped up and improved in all ways last year. … We went over this in depth with Coach McCarthy and he thinks [Dak] is a top-end, top-caliber quarterback. We can do everything we want to do and more with Dak. [McCarthy] can’t wait to spend time with him. We’ve got to land the plane on his contract and get him signed up sooner than later. He deserves everything he has coming. We got real, real close there to start the season and just didn’t finish up. He’s so laser-focused on wanting to win football games and compete that he really didn’t want the distraction once we didn’t get it done in that first week of going back and forth with the contract. We just got to move forward. He’s our quarterback of the future. I’ll take him any time when you go to war against these guys. We’re fortunate to have him.”
Taking a massive step forward under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who will remain with the organization, Prescott finished this season second in passing behind only Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, racking up a career-high 4,902 air yards. The Cowboys produced the league’s top offense in yards per game (431.5) and the second-best passing attack (296.6 YPG).
Prescott reportedly is seeking a contract worth $40 million annually, which would set a new NFL record. While that likely won’t materialize, it’s clear he’s primed to cash in after earning just $2.025 million this past year. He’ll reset the landscape until Houston expectedly rewards Deshaun Watson or Kansas City hands reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes what is sure to be a gargantuan extension.
Dallas boasts enough salary-cap space (roughly $81 million) to assuage Dak’s financial wants, but they also have the franchise tag at their disposal — and are expected to execute it — should discussions once again bottom out.
Jones doesn’t believe that applying the tag, projected to cost nearly $27 million, would preclude the club from splurging elsewhere in free agency.
“No, we can work around that,” he said.
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Prescott Predicted to Sign Record-Setting Pact
Prescott heads into 2020 on a collision course with the open market for the first time in his five-year career, but Bleacher Report believes he won’t so much as sniff free agency.
The online media outlet, in listing which NFL stars are slated to receive “mega paydays” this offseason, predicted the two-time Pro Bowler will ink a five-year, $180 million contract — or $38 million per year, setting a new league record.
Via Chris Roling:
Dak Prescott’s negotiation with the Dallas Cowboys figures to be a little more contentious than those set to happen in Houston and Kansas City.
According to NFL Network’s Jane Slater (h/t NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman), Prescott’s camp wants his new deal to check in at about $40 million per year.
Fair or not, that’s the market for franchise passers after Wilson reset the landscape. Some might view Prescott as reliant on the talent around him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s 26 with a career 65.8 competition percentage alongside 15,778 yards and 97 touchdowns against just 36 interceptions.
Dallas might not want to pay Prescott similarly to Watson or Mahomes, especially after doling out big money on extensions for DeMarcus Lawrence ($105 million), Jaylon Smith ($68.4 million) and Ezekiel Elliott ($90 million). Guys like Amari Cooper also need new deals.
But again, that’s the cost for steady play under center instead of rotating in veteran journeymen while taking risks on rookies.
The sport’s highest-paid QB, in terms of annual salary, is Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who’s pulling in $35 million a season as part of his four-year, $140 million pact. The highest-paid, in terms of total value, is Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, who landed a five-year, $150 million pact in 2018.
No Pro Bowl for Dak
Fresh off a “fun” loss in the NFC Championship Game, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has decided to bow out of Pro Bowl, which will take place Sunday. There was some thought that his Dallas counterpart may supplant Rodgers on the NFC roster.
No such luck. According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Prescott wasn’t named as a replacement for Rodgers and will not be participating in the all-star festivities.
Neither will Cowboys pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, who wasn’t invited to Orlando as a fill-in for Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, per Hill.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL