Emmitt Smith isn’t merely going against the grain with his position on Dak Prescott — he’s perforating holes in its fabric.
Whereas former players typically grandstand for members of their fraternity to milk every drop from the NFL machine, the Hall of Fame running back has advised the Dallas Cowboys‘ cornerstone quarterback to accept less on his next contract.
Less than Prescott’s supposed demands. Less than market value. Less than anyone realistically believes the two-time Pro Bowler would sign for.
Because, hey, he’ll make it up with off-the-field income, anyway.
“Dak has to understand and maybe take another perspective. The perspective may not be all the money you get, it may be how much money are you willing to leave on the table because the Cowboys is (are) a marketable organization,” Smith said on the Adam Lefkoe Show, via 105.3 The Fan. “So if you’re the face of the franchise, instead of taking $35 (million), would you take $28 (million) and leave some for Amari (Cooper) and pick up the other $35 (million) through endorsements?”
This stance is particularly surprising and highly ironic coming from Smith, considering the Cowboys legend famously held out for two games during the 1993 season in protest of a new deal; he sought QB riches but “settled” for highest-paid-RB money.
If the NFL’s all-time leading rusher reached a compromise, Smith intimated, Prescott can, too.
“In some cases, you leave money on the table. You don’t get everything you ask for. I wanted $28 million (total) but I had to holdout,” Smith said. “I wanted to be an $8 (or) $9 million back. I wanted $28 (million) for three to four years.”
Smith was adamant that nobody talked him down from his financial machinations nor twisted his arm into giving Dallas a break.
“It’s just the fact that when I missed those first two games, it was just like, ‘okay, just give me the money I need to have. Let me go ahead and do what I need to go do and maybe I’m back at the table again (down the road,'” he said.
Prescott reportedly is pushing to become the highest-paid signal-caller in the sport’s history, with a desired $40 million average annual salary. The 26-year-old danced around a recent query of whether he deserves the record-setting windfall, stating only that he’d cut the colossal check to himself if it were possible.
“If it’s my call to write it, yeah, no telling,” he told Yahoo Sports’ Kimberley Martin. “I mean, let’s be honest, right? So like I said before, I mean, I trust my agent. I trust the Cowboys. Something will get done. We’re not going to sit here and put a number on it. Something will happen.”
The contractual saga between Dak and Big D has been raging for months, absent of fruitful discussions. It was reported that Prescott rejected an offer last September which would have paid him $33 million per season, as he allegedly aims to eclipse Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson, who’s taking home $35 million annually on his four-year, $140 million deal, inked in April 2019.
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, without a new pact in place.
He’s scheduled to hit the unrestricted free-agent market on March 18. The Cowboys, however, are fully prepared to assign the franchise tag to Prescott if an agreement cannot be reached. Once the tag is applied, the sides would then have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal.
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Ex-NFL All-Pro Warns Cowboys Not to Choose Tom Brady Over Dak [WATCH]
Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. In dissecting the Cowboys‘ quarterback options, that is how former Chargers All-Pro defender and current FS1 analyst Marcellus Wiley summarized the team’s purported choice between incumbent Prescott and rumored target Tom Brady — both of whom are unsigned for 2020.
“I say yes and I think it’ll be a step backward,” Wiley said when asked whether the Cowboys would seriously consider Brady over Prescott. “The only reason I would do that is if I could draft a quarterback that I fell in love with him and couple him; Brady for the short-term — tutor — and, all of a sudden, I got a long-term prospect in whoever I draft.”
“You already got that embodied in a quarterback that’s winning and leading your franchise,” Wiley countered. “So, to me, it’d be a step backward to now bet on not one but two new Cowboys to come in, steady the ship and get better results, and then get rid of something that I already know I can bank on and build with in Dak Prescott? It’s a step backward.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL