Nevermind the fact that Dak Prescott remains without a long-term contract.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback also has yet to sign his exclusive franchise tag, and, borrowing Jerry Jones’ verbiage, the 26-year-old putting pen to paper — in any capacity — doesn’t appear imminent.
To quote Jones’ actual thoughts, however, the Cowboys were prepared for such a scenario; not only Prescott’s apparent unwillingness to ink his tag but the financial ramifications of the placeholder pact.
“It’s not in a list of priorities, as you could imagine, with everything that we all are dealing with, as well as what we’re doing with the draft,” the Cowboys’ owner/general manager said Tuesday during his pre-draft conference call, via ESPN.com. “So I don’t have a time frame, but I’m not concerned about that at all as to any of those issues. And again, no surprises here; no surprises on the amount that the franchise counts against the [cap]; no surprise that we’re sitting here, relative to where we are, without a long-term agreement.”
The exact total of the tag varied when it was applied March 16. Many information sources stated it was worth approximately $33 million, while others ran with $31.5 million. In reality, it was a bit lower — around $26.824 million, the average of the NFL’s top-five QB salaries.
But, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed Tuesday, that figure was misleadingly underreported until the restricted free-agent signing period closed April 17. The “real number for Dak” has crystallized at $31.409 million for the 2020 campaign.
The Cowboys and Prescott have until July 15 to reach a multi-year accord. Failing that, the two-time Pro Bowler will be forced to play on the tag and resume negotiations in 2021.
Deadlocked in these discussions since last September, Prescott’s reportedly rejected two proposals in excess of $33 million annually as he seeks to become the league’s highest-paid signal-caller, a title that currently belongs to Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($35 million AAV). Unless Dallas increases its offer or Dak lowers his demand, the sides will continue haggling. A major hold-up is length; the player prefers a four-year agreement, the team wants a five- or six-year deal.
Considered a candidate to hold out from the Cowboys’ virtual offseason program, altered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Prescott has been in communication with his superiors, Head Coach Mike McCarthy revealed, adding, “We don’t do roll call publicly.”
What they can do publicly is reaffirm Prescott as the starting QB for the upcoming campaign and well beyond, no matter how long before he’s signed and sealed — after which point, the hope is, he delivers Dallas back to relevancy.
“At the end of the day I don’t think us drafting a quarterback has anything to do with Dak,” Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said, per ESPN.com. “He’s our starting quarterback. Obviously he’s franchised and our bigger goal is to get him signed long term, and we think we can do that.”
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