Long-term negotiations involving the Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott reportedly remain at such a standstill that the team is “conceding” itself to a reality in which no agreement is struck by Wednesday’s deadline.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Saturday that Dallas is prepared to negotiate until the eleventh hour, “hopeful” that Prescott will accept its (unspecified) multi-year proposal. But the club also believes it’s in a “good spot” as the two-time Pro Bowl passer seeks an (unspecified) “almost bulletproof” deal.
“I’m told the Cowboys are not worried right now,” Fowler said, via Bleacher Report. “They’re going to play this all the way up to the deadline and they’re hopeful that Dak Prescott will take their latest, best offer. Whether that’s a new offer at the deadline or their old offer because they didn’t hash anything out a few months ago. It’s been very quiet since then, to the point where several league sources believe that nothing’s going to get done here because Dak already signed his franchise tag tender. It’s maybe conceding that nothing’s going to get done, but the Cowboys feel they’re in a good spot. They’re prepared for him to play under the franchise tag if necessary. Dak wants almost a bulletproof contract, solid four-year structure.”
This echoes what NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday, that “this one always seemed destined to go down to the wire, and the issues really haven’t changed.”
The Cowboys supposedly have a five-year offer on the table which, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported in May, would pay Prescott roughly $35 million annually with upwards of $110 million guaranteed. Prescott, meanwhile, continues to stump for a four-year commitment that ensures he’s one if, if not the highest-paid at his position.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
By “bulletproof,” Fowler might have inferred Prescott now is eyeing the Patrick Mahomes route — that is, tying his pact to the league’s ever-rising television contracts and gambling revenue, ensuring he makes more money each season no matter what transpires on the field.
Regardless, Mahomes opened the floodgates in landing a half-billion dollars. The reigning Super Bowl MVP will be earning anywhere from $45-50 million over the ensuing decade once his megadeal goes into effect in 2022. This means $40-plus million annually, once a pipe dream, could represent the baseline for QBs like Prescott and Houston’s Deshaun Watson.
It’s likely that Jerry and Stephen Jones are willing to have Prescott leapfrog Seattle’s Russell Wilson ($35 million APY) but, reading between the lines of Fowler’s hearsay, unlikely they’ll exceed the vaunted $40 million threshold.
Dak, Dallas Mutually Content?
If the Joneses aren’t comfortable digging deeper into their pocketbook, they may tell Prescott to take what they’re offering or he gets nothing at all, beyond what the franchise tag will rake in this season.
The Cowboys then would get a chance to see Prescott in a new offense and whether his gaudy 2019 numbers were an outlier before hitching their wagon to his star. A trial run before backing up the ol’ Brink’s truck.
On the other hand, assuming Prescott isn’t satisfied with less-than-Mahomes money, he could simply “settle” for the fully-guaranteed $31.4 million tag, a monumental upgrade on the $2.025 million he collected in 2019.
If tagged again next offseason, he’d cost $37.7 million following a mandatory 120 percent increase, per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In that “worst-case” scenario, he’d clear nearly $70 million before testing the market in 2022 — still only 28 years old.
Untagged again, however, Prescott will hit 2021 unrestricted free agency, where a needy team is likely to assuage his financial wants. And who knows what sky-rocketing QB salaries might look like by that point.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL