It’s even crazier to think, after nearly a calendar year at the bargaining table, the sides probably won’t get it done.
Updates on fruitless discussions between Dallas and Dak continue to leak out, each providing a proverbial stroke in painting an increasingly bleak picture.
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The discouraging news began last Wednesday, with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero’s assertion that “this one always seemed destined to go down to the wire, and the issues really haven’t changed.”
Three days later, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the Cowboys are prepared to negotiate until the eleventh hour, “hopeful” that Prescott will accept its (unspecified) 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.
“It’s maybe conceding that nothing’s going to get done,” Fowler said, adding, “they’re prepared for him to play under the franchise tag if necessary.”
On Sunday, the clock ticking, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News was told Prescott is “not close” to a new contract. Watkins did allow that the “situation could change” before time runs out at 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
Any optimism, though, was curtailed Monday afternoon by NFL Network’s Jane Slater, who was informed “there isn’t a lot of optimism” for Prescott to receive a long-term contract. Slater, like Watkins, hedged her bets: “It’s Monday so things can change but that’s where the situation sits currently.”
Where Things Stand
The Cowboys supposedly have a five-year offer on the table which, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported in May, would pay Prescott more than $34.5 million annually with upwards of $110 million in guarantees. Prescott, meanwhile, is stumping for a four-year commitment that ensures he’s one if, if not the highest-paid at his position.
If the Joneses aren’t comfortable digging deeper into their pocketbook, they may tell him to take what they’re offering or he gets nothing at all, beyond the fully-guaranteed $31.4 million his franchise tag will rake in this season.
The front office then would get a chance to see the 2016 fourth-round pick in a new offense and whether his gaudy 2019 numbers were an outlier before hitching their wagon to his star.
On the other hand, assuming Prescott isn’t satisfied with less-than-Mahomes money, he could simply bet on himself, and in a worst-case scenario, collect another $37.7 million if tagged again next offseason. Meaning he’d clear almost $70 million before testing the open market in 2022 — still only 28 years old.
If untagged in 2021, Prescott will hit unrestricted free agency, where a needy suitor 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