The former Eagles and Redskins quarterback, during a recent appearance on the Last Stand Podcast, opined that Dallas should “pay the man” rather than stick out the 2020 season on the franchise tag, which runs the risk of meeting an exploded market value.
“Pay the man because I’m going to tell you one thing — (when) you franchise him, say he has half Jameis Winston’s season and y’all make it to the NFC Championship Game or second round of the playoffs. And he passes for 5,000 yards, 35 touchdowns and maybe about 12 to 13 picks. You know how much money he’s going to ask for? You think it’s a problem now. It’s going to be a major problem if Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes sign their contracts,” McNabb told Showtime’s Brian Custer, via the Dallas Morning News.
It’s debatable whether Prescott joins the 5K Club next season, but it’s indisputable that Watson and Mahomes will eventually score mind-numbingly lucrative extensions, with the reigning Super Bowl MVP likely becoming the first $40 million-per-year player in NFL history. The current high-water mark — Seattle QB Russell Wilson’s $35 million annually — will seem like pennies on the dollar within the next calendar year.
Prescott reportedly sought $40 million per season in 2019 as his camp ignited long-term talks with the Cowboys. The team was unwilling to assuage its two-time Pro Bowl signal-caller at that number, or anywhere close to it, leading to oft-stalled discussions that, as of this writing, remain stagnated.
According to Mike Fisher of SI.com, Prescott has “a monster offer on the table now” worth $35 million annually with “more than” $106 million guaranteed, a fairly significant increase from the team’s last proposal ($33.5 million AAV, $105 million guaranteed) that Prescott rejected.
The present offer would make Dak both the highest-paid player in single-season franchise history and perhaps the richest player on a per-year basis in league history, potentially surpassing Wilson. The guaranteed money, however, would fall short of Los Angeles QB Jared Goff’s record-setting $110 million.
At $175 million in total value, Prescott would dwarf Atlanta QB Matt Ryan’s $150 million pact. However, that’s assuming Dallas springs for a four-year agreement — Prescott’s preference — instead of securing a five-year deal, on which the organization is standing its ground. The latter scenario “reduces” the windfall to “just” $140 million, putting Prescott and Wilson on equal footing.
The sides have until July 15 to reach an agreement on a megadeal. Failing that, Prescott will be forced to play the 2020 campaign on his $31.4 million exclusive franchise tag, which too he’s yet to sign.
This is one of those blue-moon instances where Cowboys fans can safely side with the enemy.
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Cowboys Address Possibility of Revoking Prescotts’s Tag
If nothing else, Prescott can breathe easy knowing he’s guaranteed $31.4 million for the upcoming season, as under no circumstances, including a protracted contract squabble, will his tag be removed or rescinded, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed.
“Absolutely not,” Jones recently told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Dak’s our quarterback for the future. Obviously, this hasn’t been the easiest thing. As Jerry says, ‘As money gets bigger, deals get harder.’ Certainly, we’re talking a significant amount of money here which he so deserves. Absolutely not. Dak’s going to be our quarterback this year. He’s our quarterback for the future. We think the world of him. He represents our franchise in a very positive way in terms of what we want as a leader of our team. He’s just an outstanding man, and we would never rescind the franchise tag.
As Florio points out, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement permits Dallas to rescind the tag at their own discretion. And there’s incentive (read: leverage) behind such a maneuver. If Prescott were to play this year on the band-aid tender, the team would need to offer the two-time Pro Bowler at least $37.68 million in 2021 — a 20% increase in salary — to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
“By ruling out rescinding the tender, the Cowboys have accepted the fact that they’ll either give Dak a record contract or see the clock tick loudly toward a potential financial nightmare, or the departure of their starting quarterback,” Florio wrote.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL