A lesser-known, similarly-unconfirmed desire for Prescott, 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.
So, last September, when the Dallas Cowboys presented Dak with an offer that fell short of both his $40 million pipedream and Wilson’s yearly pay, Hill reported Friday, the two-time Pro Bowl passer told the team thanks but no thanks.
“The two sides came close to deal in September on a contract that would have paid him roughly $33 million annually, sources said, before talks broke down when Prescott upped his asking price,” Hill wrote.
Fast-forward to February.
Slow-rolling negotiations, which began in the 2019 offseason, purportedly reached an “impasse” several months later; a long-term pact does not appear to be on the horizon, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday. In fact, it’s likelier Dallas applies the franchise tag to Prescott, who recently expressed disappointment over oft-stalled discussions and contempt toward the tag, which would pay him approximately $27 million guaranteed for 2020.
“We’ll get to that when we get to that,” he told reporters last week, via the Dallas Morning News. “I look forward to talking to my agents and when that [franchise tag] comes to play, the direction that we’ll go. Until that’s a reality, I won’t worry about it. But I do feel like some of this should get done. I’m a little disappointed that it hasn’t, but that’s part of it.”
Prescott, who walked back previous contractual optimism, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 18. The deadline to use the tag is March 10, after which the team would have until July 15 to lock him down beyond next season.
The Cowboys will take north of $77 million in salary-cap room into free agency, and retaining the organizational cornerstone is the brain trust’s admitted top priority in the weeks ahead.
“I don’t want to get into the details, but we have offered him significant money,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “The money we have offered Dak no matter how you look at it would put him as a top five quarterback in the NFL. That is the way we feel about him. He is one of the best.”
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 a new contract.
Jones once again used the U-word — “urgent” — to signify the importance of signing Prescott and, by association, avoiding a potential holdout. It’s a fine line the club must walk, hopeful to break the bank on its field general while also attempting to keep his number one wide receiver, Amari Cooper, and, perhaps, the Cowboys’ best cornerback, Byron Jones, both of whom, like Prescott, are unrestricted free agents.
A line they’re comfortable toeing so long as the dominos start falling. Soon.
“We want to get this done,” Jones said, per the 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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Cowboys Not Taking Cues from Kansas City
Jones and Co. certainly feel pressure to “land the plane,” as Stephen put it, but they’re simultaneously marching to their own drum-beat as the 2016 fourth-round pick angles to become the richest player in league history.
Asked whether Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes — who’s expected to breach the $40 million AAV barrier — has any bearing on their Prescott talks, Jones instead pointed to cap constraints, hinting that Dak may need to take less if he wants to remain teammates with Cooper, Jones, and the lot.
“Certainly, at the end of the day, we want him to get what he’s got coming,” he said, per the Star-Telegram. “At the same time and he understands we want to keep as many guys as we can and do what gives us the best opportunity to win a Super Bowl. So that’s the line you walk there … We want to get him signed. We think the world of him.”
For what it’s worth, this is the antithesis of Cowboys legend and current FOX broadcaster Troy Aikman’s recent prediction that a long-term agreement is “inevitable.” Aikman believes the team must find a middle ground with Prescott as soon as possible, for fear of Mahomes’ surely gargantuan effect on the QB landscape.
“I think that with each month that passes, every couple of months that pass I think the price goes up at least a little bit as other deals get done,” he said.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL