NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday the team is attempting to “buck history” by getting the unrestricted free agent quarterback under contract by March 10, the soft deadline to apply the franchise tag.
This is much easier said than done, as Rapoport explains, and the tag remains the Cowboys’ contingency in the event that talks continue to stall over the next month.
“They’re going to make a push to try to close out a Dak Prescott deal before the franchise tag window closes,” Rapoport said. “In other words, before they have to tag Dak Prescott, which they are going to, they’re going to try to strike a deal. Historically, this has been incredibly difficult to do, because it’s not a real deadline. There’s no consequences, for instance, for missing the deadline. So, these kinds of deals, reaching a long-term agreement before someone gets tagged, has been extremely difficult. It remains to be seen whether this is something that Dak Prescott and his agent, Todd France, are willing to do. But this is what the Cowboys are going to try to do to lock up their quarterback long term.”
Prescott has hoped to become the sport’s first $40 million-per-year QB ahead of his inaugural foray into free agency. The two-time Pro Bowl passer reportedly rejected an offer worth $33 million annually last September, after which negotiations slowed to a crawl, and, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this month, hit an “impasse,” with no long-term pact on the horizon.
That Dak wants to shatter the league’s current financial landscape isn’t a well-kept secret. But a lesser-known, similarly-unconfirmed desire, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is to usurp Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson, who’s taking home $35 million per season as part of his four-year, $140 million deal, inked in April 2019.
Prescott has expressed disappointment over the lack of fruitful discussions and contempt toward the tag, which would pay him roughly $27 million for 2020.
He’s scheduled to hit the open market on March 18. If the tag were to be used, the club would then have until July 15 to hammer out a multi-year agreement.
Using what little leverage he has, Prescott — fresh off a career season in which he set new personal bests with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns — wouldn’t commit to showing his face at Cowboys headquarters, nor even training in North Texas, absent an extension.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones once again used the word “urgent” to signify the importance of signing Prescott and, by association, avoiding a potential holdout.
“We want to get this done,” Jones recently told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Things are fixing to heat up. We want to put every foot forward and try to grind this out and get a deal done.”
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NFL Insider Reports on Dak as Cowboys’ ‘QB of the Future’
Countering the pessimistic national consensus regarding Dallas’ stymied contract negotiations with Prescott, FOX Sports insider Jay Glazer zealously reported in his latest mailbag that the organization and its cornerstone quarterback will come to an agreement.
So sure of his likely-sourced prognostication, Glazer leaves zero room for doubt — or misinterpretation. This deal is happening, he affirmed, at a value less than Prescott’s supposed $40 million annual asking price.
“Dak will be the quarterback of the Cowboys. Period. End of story,” Glazer wrote for The Athletic. “I don’t see him getting 40. I see Patrick Mahomes as the first $40 million-a-year guy. Whatever he does, any other team can look and say, “Well, you didn’t win an MVP and a Super Bowl MVP so you’re not going to make as much as that.” But whether they franchise Dak, give him an extension, or whatever it is, it’s going to get done. He will be the quarterback of the future for the Cowboys, and no, he’s not asking for 40.”
Hall-of-Famer and FOX broadcaster Troy Aikman, who knows a thing or two about the position, doesn’t foresee Prescott being pushed out, either, nor does he envision the rumored Dak-for-Tom Brady swap materializing.
Citing Brady’s advanced NFL age, Aikman refuted growing speculation that the Cowboys will replace Prescott, an impending unrestricted free agent, with the longtime Patriots QB, an impending unrestricted free agent.
“I wouldn’t think so,” Aikman said Sunday amid the Dallas Renegades’ XFL debut, via FOX 4 Sports. “I love Tom. He could go help some teams, but there’s not a lot of teams in need of a quarterback who are wanting to build around a 41-year-old.”
Aikman actually is off by a year, as Brady is set to turn 43 in August. But the point still stands: TB12 is not coming to Texas. And DP4 isn’t departing the DFW.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL