With less than a week until the July 15 signing deadline, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday, little movement has been made in seemingly endless contract negotiations.
“This one always seemed destined to go down to the wire, and the issues really haven’t changed,” Pelissero said, via Blogging the Boys. “The Cowboys have an offer on the table for Dak Prescott that is longer than what Prescott wants to agree to. Now it’s not a 10-year offer like the Chiefs just signed Patrick Mahomes to, that long extension, but it certainly is longer than Prescott would want it to be, knowing that the salary cap, even with those economic challenges that we’ve talked about in the short term, should be spiking several years from now, as the new TV deals come in. When gambling revenue comes in, as well. Now Prescott signed that franchise tender last month, that means regardless of whether there’s an extension, he will not be a training camp holdout. And as we have talked about for months now, in Prescott’s case, the tag gives him leverage. It’s $31.4 million this season; it would be 120 percent of that if they tagged him again next year, so his downside is close to $70 million over two years if there is no deal. And this is a guy last season who bet on himself, played for $2 million.”
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If you feel like you’ve heard this before … well, it’s because you have. Again. And again. And again. Save for Prescott inking his franchise tag last month, the parties can’t seem to reach a mutually beneficial compromise.
The primary issue, as always, remains length. Dak has dug in his heels for a four-year deal while Dallas wants its standard five-year commitment. This was the case way before Patrick Mahomes landed a record-shattering 10-year, $503 million extension from the Kansas City Chiefs.
What Mahomes did do, however, is open the floodgates. He’ll be making anywhere from $45-50 million annually once the megapact goes into effect in 2022. This means $40-plus million — once a pipe dream — now could represent the baseline for QBs like Prescott and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. Passers get paid in the NFL, even if they aren’t on Mahomes’ level.
Prescott, who holds much of the leverage over Dallas, won’t be the next $400 million recipient, and probably won’t eclipse $200 million. But it’d be a surprise if he settled for anything close to the Cowboys’ last reported offer: $35 million per year with roughly $110 million guaranteed.
Win-Win for Dak
Assuming he and the Cowboys can’t strike a deal, Prescott will collect a fully-guaranteed $31.4 million for the upcoming campaign. If tagged again next offseason, he’d earn $37.7 million, a mandatory 20 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.
If he isn’t tagged, 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