Why? Because, Fowler said, “there haven’t been any new developments on that front for a while,” as the length of the deal and its overall value remain the chief “sticking points.”
In other words, nothing new.
Dallas and Dak have infrequently met at the bargaining table since last September, with on-again, off-again talks failing to reach an accord. As ESPN’s Ed Werder reported earlier this week, Prescott inking his $31.4 million tender is “not an indication” that a multi-year contract is imminent. It was merely a formality.
Further, Werder was told by a source close to the situation that Dallas feels stuck between a rock and a hard place, pressured to lock down Prescott while simultaneously navigating around potential salary cap-related pitfalls stemming from the coronavirus and estimates of its financial ramifications on the sport in 2020.
“Their problem is the second year, because this salary cap is going to crash unless there’s an intermediate deal,” said the source. “They would have to gut their team to keep him then. So there’s even more incentive for the Cowboys to do a long-term deal with Dak because of the coronavirus and where the cap might be next year.”
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Same Stance, Different Day
Reading the tea leaves, the holdup continues to be centered around Prescott’s insistence on a four-year commitment — giving him another bite at the apple when he turns 30 — while the Cowboys are holding firm for a five-year pact.
The team was taken aback by this particular demand when it first became known, and they’ve supposedly yet to get over it more than nine months later. Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, “the Cowboys are and will continue to be stunned by Dak’s stance.”
“As a fourth-round pick who never received a significant payday, he spurned their best offer in 2019, bet on himself, and will now make huge money this year, whether under the franchise tag or whatever long-term offer the Cowboys make to get him to trade in the money he’d make if he take the Kirk Cousins year-to-year approach,” Florio wrote Monday. “The Cowboys didn’t expect it to get to this point; the question now becomes whether it will get to the point that they pay him $31.4 million for 2020 and stare down the possibility of paying him $37.68 million for 2021.”
The Cowboys applied the exclusive tag to Prescott on March 16, keeping the then-unrestricted free agent off the market. It also made him the richest player in single-season club history, the NFL’s seventh-highest-paid player in terms of total cash, and the sport’s highest-paid in base salary, dwarfing 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo ($23.8 million), according to Spotrac.com.
Dak in Driver’s Seat, Regardless of Outcome
Prescott holds many of the cards. If he doesn’t receive his megadeal, he can simply set his sights on 2021 free agency, where a QB-hungry team is likely to assuage his financial wants. If tagged again next offseason, he’d earn a fully-guaranteed $37.7 million, a mandatory 20 percent increase in pay, per the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The last reported offer from the Cowboys to Prescott was worth more than $34 million annually and included guaranteed money “on par” with Los Angeles QB Jared Goff’s record-setting $110 million.
There have been rumblings that Prescott is aiming to usurp Seattle’s Russell Wilson as the league’s richest-ever player per year with an annual salary exceeding $35 million. This, however minor, a departure from last year’s rumor that he’s seeking to land the first $40 million-per-year contract in NFL history.
There is, though, cautious optimism that an agreement will come together before the aforementioned clock expires, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported earlier this month.
“Those that are close to the situation will consistently say this will probably get done before that July 15 deadline,” Russini said.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL