Dak Prescott is poised to make NFL history.
The Dallas Cowboys franchise-tagged cornerstone likely will become only the third quarterback to play a season on the franchise tag. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported early Wednesday morning, hours before the 3 p.m. CT signing deadline, that a multi-year agreement between Prescott and Dallas is not expected.
“Barring a dramatic last-minute change, the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott are not expected to reach agreement on a new deal before today’s 4 pm deadline, per sources,” Schefter tweeted. “Prescott is expected to play this season on his on his one-year, $31.4 million franchise tag.”
He added: “The Cowboys and Dak Prescott have no further plans to talk at this time and haven’t attempted to negotiate a new deal in weeks.. Short of a dramatic 11th-hour change, Prescott no longer will be able to sign a long-term deal until 2021, when he is scheduled to become a free agent.”
The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore was the first to report on the final outcome of months-long contract negotiations that ultimately failed to advance beyond the offer-counteroffer stage.
QB Dak Prescott will play the season on the franchise tag of $31.4 million. After midnight, less than 15 hours before the deadline for a long-term deal, the 2 sides had no plans to meet, sources said. It will take an unexpected gesture in the final hours to avoid the inevitable.
— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) July 15, 2020
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Dak = Kirk?
As previously uncovered, both QBs who toughed out the tag — Drew Brees in 2005 and Kirk Cousins in 2016 and 2017 — signed deals with new teams the following year.
Prescott’s apparent trajectory closely resembles that of Cousins, whose short-term setbacks paid off in the form of long-term wealth.
The former Redskins starter broke the mold in 2018 by signing a fully-guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal with Minnesota, earning an annual salary of $28 million while preserving a second bite at the apple in his prime. That bite came early — this March, when Cousins was rewarded by the Vikings with a fully-guaranteed, two-year, $66 million extension, which included a $30 million signing bonus.
It became increasingly apparent throughout the 2019 campaign that Prescott might be destined for a similar fate. Around the time this was happening, Minnesota polished off Dallas, 28-24, in an early November matchup, after which Cousins shared a crucial bit of advice with his NFC cohort.
“Anybody who I run into who’s been franchise tagged, we have one on our team this year in Anthony Harris, I believe the franchise tag can be your friend,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something to be disappointed with. I think it enables you to be well compensated, and deservedly so, for the upcoming season. Then, I always say the cream will rise to the top. If you’re good enough, the cream’s going to rise to the top, and you’re going to get compensated the way you want to. Sometimes it doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like, but if you deserve it, and you’ve earned it, it’s going to happen. So you’ve just got to stay the course and stay patient. Certainly in my journey, it all worked out. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
“So my message to Dak, when I saw him midseason last year, was, ‘Hey, whatever happens, don’t be afraid of the tag. It can be your friend, and you can use it to your advantage.’”
Cowboys’ Final Offer to Prescott Revealed: Report
On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Jane Slater was informed Dallas submitted its final contract offer to the star signal-caller: a five-year deal worth “between” $33-35 million annually, with more than $100 million guaranteed.
“Why is the extra year a sticking point? I’m told they just don’t do 4 year extensions. The #Cowboys consider the offer top money so they want the extra year,” she tweeted.
This — length — has been the holdup all along in nearly year-long negotiations. Prescott, 26, prefers to tie his pact to the NFL’s ever-increasing revenue streams and cash in again at 30, while the Cowboys want a five-year commitment from the former Pro Bowler, standard for in-house extensions.
Per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Prescott’s agent, Todd France, and the Cowboys have not held meaningful discussions since March. ESPN’s Ed Werder claims the parties last communicated on June 22, when Dak officially inked his tag.
Assuming that doesn’t change by the deadline, Prescott will earn a fully-guaranteed $31.4 million from the franchise tender. In a worst-case scenario, if tagged again next offseason, he would collect another $37.7 million. Meaning he’d clear roughly $71 million before likely testing the free-agent market in 2022 — still only 28 years old.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL