But there’s one indisputable fact about his ballyhooed contract standoff: It’s impossible to ignore, especially in an offseason as unique as this year.
For that reason, and for that reason only, Bleacher Report has grouped Prescott among the NFL’s “biggest potential distractions” ahead of the 2020 regular season.
Via Kristopher Knox:
Dak Prescott’s agent has denied reports the quarterback turned down a five-year deal from the Dallas Cowboys, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. However, the fact remains that no deal is in place, and the franchise-tagged signal-caller has yet to sign his tender.
This means a holdout is possible, which would have an obvious impact on Dallas’ season. That’s likely why the Cowboys were quick to give veteran Andy Dalton a one-year, $3 million deal after he was released by Cincinnati.
Dalton is a quality bit of insurance for the Cowboys, but he does represent a sizable step back from what Prescott was in 2019—Prescott threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns. If he isn’t with the team when the season begins, Dallas’ playoff hopes could be in jeopardy.
However, even if Prescott does sign his franchise tender and start the season under center, his future in Dallas will remain a distraction. The only way the Cowboys are going to avoid it is by getting a long-term deal done before the July 15 deadline.
To be sure, a holdout is possible for any player in the league. And Prescott, despite skipping the team’s virtual offseason program, has given no indication he’s prepared to miss any real action. Yes, Dalton was brought aboard largely as Dak insurance, but even he expects to hold a clipboard this fall, aiding Prescott “as much as I can.”
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones recently ducked a question positing that he’s “comfortable” with Dalton as the QB1.
“Like I said only thing I can speak to right now — only thing I can speak to is that we’re trying to sign [Prescott] to a long-term deal,” Jones told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “He’s a competitor. He loves this football team. He knows that we’re trying to put a great football team together and we’re gonna focus on getting him signed.”
Jones’ reply — which had nothing to do with Dalton — is almost identical to that of his father’s, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who claimed earlier this offseason he won’t sweat Dak’s subtle threat (issued before the COVID-19 pandemic) to train away from The Star absent a new megadeal.
“It’s not a concern of mine,” Jones said, per The Athletic. “Dak understands, in my mind, one of the great things about Dak is his commitment to building a team. I don’t have an issue there.”
Say what you will about Prescott’s financial desires, but he hasn’t exactly been sitting on his couch since the 2019 campaign ended. He was shown multiple times over the past few months engaging in throwing sessions with the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant, sharpening his craft in these socially-distanced times.
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the Cowboys currently have an offer on the table that would make Prescott the sport’s second-highest-paid signal-caller, behind Seattle’s Russell Wilson, at more than $34 million annually. The proposal includes guarantees “on par” with Rams QB Jared Goff’s record-setting $110 million, per Archer.
Length remains the biggest (only?) roadblock preventing an agreement; Prescott reportedly prefers a four-year pact while the Cowboys are holding firm for a five-year commitment.
The sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract. Failing that, Prescott will be forced to play out the season on his $31.4 million exclusive franchise tag, which he’s also yet to sign.
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Cowboys Fans Call for Dalton to Start Amid Dak Squabble
Amid his ongoing fight for generational wealth, many in Cowboys Nation are turning on the incumbent and gravitating toward his newly-minted backup, the longtime former Bengals starter.
If Prescott won’t accept what Dallas wants to pay him, the masses collectively concluded, then Dalton is the right man for the job. Below is a smattering of comments from the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page:
I’ve been a cowboy fan since I was a little did quarterback ain’t worth the money you want to give him you just got a quarterback that can do just as well as he can set Prescott down don’t play himif he’s turning down that much money he don’t want to be on the team give Andy Dalton a chance
I’m a diehard cowboy fan but no one is worth that kind of $$$$ what ever happened to just making a comfortable living,greed almost always cost u at the end.bring on Andy Dalton!
Dak wouldn’t get that much in the open market. Take what is being offered. You had some good stats but ended with no championship or ring. Kick rocks! Send him to the Jets and keep Dalton. Something Dak will regret for the rest of his life, greedy SOB. Cowboys have a lot of talent and want to be able to keep them next year.
Dak is as good as he is because of the weapons he has. Cowboys just gifted him Super Bowl capable team and this is what he is doing. Go ahead Dak, go find yourself another team. Let Andy have a shot.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL