In a unique if wildly idealistic proposal, Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin called for the organization to provide quarterback Dak Prescott with reparations.
The Hall-of-Fame wide receiver, during an interview on the Rich Eisen Show, aired his belief that Dallas owes the 2016 fourth-round pick “back pay” for years of what he considers unrewarded service — service that “deserves” restitution.
“Dak has been not great, but perfect. Not necessarily in wins and losses, of course. But I’m talking about just the person that he’s been,” Irvin said earlier this week, via the Dallas Morning News. “The kind of investment you want to make, the kind of guy you say ‘yeah, we hit it with this guy. We got him in the fourth round.’ You stole four years, so whatever he gets he deserves because you still owe him back pay.”
Although Irvin has the ear of those within the Cowboys’ hierarchy, including owner Jerry Jones, there’s next to no chance the team shares his view. Just because he played out his rookie deal, they could argue, doesn’t entitle Prescott to compensation beyond what he’s earned as a pro.
In this sport, contracts, like roster spots, are privileges, not rights. To quote former Cowboys QB Tony Romo, the NFL is a true meritocracy. It’s naive to think otherwise.
Irvin himself hit on this very point, explaining that deadlines ultimately spur action, and Prescott will touch pen to paper on a potentially market-resetting pact by the July 15 deadline — perhaps right before.
“It’s business. Dak wants every penny and Jerry [Jones] wants to try to save every penny,” he said. “But usually those kinds of deals, I always tell people, will get done as soon as the slipper falls of Cinderella, 12:01, something will get done. It’ll come in and Dak will be — for a moment — the highest-paid quarterback before Pat Mahomes gets his.”
It’s anything but surprising that a former player wants a current star, let alone a Cowboys star, to secure the bag. But his argument is centered around facts, such as Prescott’s 40-24 record as a starter across 64 career games.
Irvin also notes, correctly, that $35 million per year, as has been proposed for Prescott, is merely the going rate for signal-callers of his magnitude.
“Dak has done everything and he has won,” he said. “He has won a lot of football games in his first four years. So to say he doesn’t deserve the money isn’t totally correct. He does deserve the money. That’s the market and he’s a starting, winning quarterback in the NFL. It’s just a matter of getting it done. And I think they’ll get it done.
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