Joe Theismann cannot seem to fathom how Dak Prescott is going about his business.
To the Washington Redskins legend, it’s unconscionable that the Dallas Cowboys’ franchise-tagged quarterback would reject at least two reported megadeal offers in an ongoing standoff to become the NFL’s highest-paid player — not just passer.
Theismann feels Prescott is getting questionable guidance from superagent Todd France, to say the least.
“Dak Prescott’s situation confuses me a bit,” Theismann said on CBS Sports Radio earlier this week. “If I was advising Dak Prescott, I would say, ‘Take the money. The aggravation to go through, the unknowns if you happen to go through a year, the free agency – yes, they’ve committed a lot of money to Amari [Cooper]. Yes, they’ve committed a lot of money to Zeke. But that’s a lot of money. What are you looking for? Another couple million? You’re never going to see the last year of this contract anyway.’”
To answer the rhetorical question, Prescott is seeking to surpass Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($35 million annually) as the league’s richest QB. The 26-year-old prefers a four-year deal that allows him to cash in now and re-test the market later, still in his prime. Prescott reportedly rejected a pair of proposals floated by the Cowboys that would have paid him in excess of $33 million annually and included $105 million in guarantees.
Dallas is standing its ground at four years, unwilling to cave to Dak’s demands. Which aren’t rooted in reality, according to Theismann.
“What you really concern yourself with is the guarantee that you’re going to get,” he said on CBS Sports Radio. “So if he signs a five-year contract at $34 million, that’s $170 million and probably $115-20 of it is guaranteed. What, are you crazy? Are you really, really nuts? Has somebody got into your head and said, ‘It’s worth the risk of disrupting the football team? All the questions, all the pressures?’”
The Cowboys assigned the exclusive franchise tag to Prescott in March. The sides have until July 15 to reach agreement on a long-term extension, or Prescott will be forced to play 2020 on the $31.4 million tender, which he’s also yet to sign.
Prescott made $2.025 million in 2019, the final year of his rookie deal in which he finished second in the league with 4,902 passing yards, one short of tying the single-season franchise record held by Tony Romo.
But stats alone, Theismann opined, aren’t enough to justify a market-resetting windfall. If Prescott wants to be paid like a truly elite signal-caller, he’ll need to perform like a truly elite signal-caller — consistently.
Otherwise, he should eat what’s on his proverbial plate before asking for seconds.
“You’re not a top-five quarterback in the National Football League,” Theismann said of Prescott. “You’re a good football player. You have the potential to be better, but what have you done?”
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Vikings QB Cousins Offers Dak Interesting Financial Advice
Kirk Cousins, currently the Minnesota Vikings‘ starting quarterback, was just three shorts years ago where Prescott is now: franchise-tagged and unable to score a new deal. Then with the Washington Redskins, Cousins was tagged in 2016, and again in 2017, before finally reaching the open market — financial freedom.
It became increasingly apparent as last season wore on that Prescott might be destined for a similar fate. Around the time this was happening, Minnesota polished off Dallas, 28-24, in an early November matchup, after which Cousins shared a crucial bit of advice with his NFC counterpart, a message he probably wishes his 28-year-old self could have received.
“Anybody who I run into who’s been franchise tagged, we have one on our team this year in Anthony Harris, I believe the franchise tag can be your friend,” Cousins said on ESPN on Thursday night, via Pro Football Talk. “I don’t think it’s something to be disappointed with. I think it enables you to be well compensated, and deservedly so, for the upcoming season. Then, I always say the cream will rise to the top. If you’re good enough, the cream’s going to rise to the top, and you’re going to get compensated the way you want to. Sometimes it doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like, but if you deserve it, and you’ve earned it, it’s going to happen. So you’ve just got to stay the course and stay patient. Certainly in my journey, it all worked out. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
“So my message to Dak, when I saw him midseason last year, was, ‘Hey, whatever happens, don’t be afraid of the tag. It can be your friend, and you can use it to your advantage.’”
Cousins’ short-term setbacks ultimately paid off in the form of long-term wealth. He broke the mold in 2018 by landing a fully-guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal from the Vikings, earning an annual salary of $28 million while preserving another bite at the apple in his prime.
That bite came this past March when he inked a two-year, $66 million extension with a $30 million signing bonus, providing tangible glimmers of hope for Prescott, a younger and arguably better QB than Cousins.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL