Dak Prescott made clear at the onset of contract negotiations last September that he desires a four-year contract from the organization. This — eschewing the Dallas Cowboys‘ preference for a five-year commitment — is the biggest roadblock in ongoing talks, the primary reason he remains without a long-term deal.
The Cowboys were taken aback by Prescott’s demand when it first became known, and they’ve reportedly 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, after Prescott inked his franchise tag. “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.”
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dak’s Line of Thinking
Prescott’s insistence allegedly is rooted in the 26-year-old’s plan to cash in now and then get another bite at the apple when he turns 30. Florio shed additional light on the cornerstone quarterback’s thinking, that “a five-year deal becomes a six- or seven-year deal, with the franchise tag applied to it on the back end.”
The Cowboys applied the exclusive franchise tender to Prescott on March 16, keeping the then-unrestricted free agent off the market. The former Pro Bowler officially signed the tag on Monday, guaranteeing him $31.4 million for the 2020 campaign — the richest player in single-season club history.
Prescott holds many of the proverbial 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.
What’s Next for the Sides
Dak and Dallas have until July 15 to reach a four- or five-year accord. If no pact is struck, talks would need to be tabled until after the season.
The Cowboys should push for a multi-year deal as it would allow them to spread out Prescott’s future salary cap charges while reducing his current $31.4 million hit. The team has roughly $11.25 million in available cap space, per OverTheCap.com.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL