Stephen Jones does not sound like a guy who is at odds with his quarterback.
Among other nuggets, Jones confirmed the sides held active eleventh-hour negotiations on July 15, the deadline for tagged players to ink multi-year deals, and used “100 percent” and “110 percent” measuring sticks to stake Prescott’s future in Dallas.
“We had a great visit with him at the deadline. We pushed to try to have a few more changes here and there to see if we could get it done,” Jones said in an interview with DallasCowboys.com. “But he’s got such a great outlook on the Dallas Cowboys, our football team, and he’s ready to go out and win a Super Bowl, which would only create more value for him, more value for the Cowboys.
“So we’re fired up about it and still have nothing but 100 percent belief in Dak and his future with the Cowboys, and that we can ultimately get a deal done. He’s special. As Jerry and I have said, we are 110 percent behind him, and ultimately feel like we’ll get this done.”
NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported after the deadline expired that Prescott was “involved at the last minute” in long-term contract discussions. But the parties, following several months of haggling, simply ran out of time, forcing the former Pro Bowl passer to play the upcoming season on his $31.4 million franchise tender.
Slater also was informed the Cowboys’ offer to Prescott — allegedly a five-year pact worth between $33-35 million annually, including $110 million guaranteed — included a $50 million signing bonus and would have paid him $70 million over the first two seasons.
Dak “disputed some of these details” to Slater, while Jones refused to provide specifics.
“I don’t want to use ‘close’ in terms of negotiations,” he told the team’s official website. “You either get a deal done or you don’t,” he said. “We didn’t quite get it done. I wouldn’t put blame on either side. It’s just one of those things, when you’re talking about a deal as big as this is – for our team, not just for Dak but our entire team, the ramifications that it has – we certainly want to get it done right. I know he’s respectful of Jerry and myself of what we’re trying to get accomplished, just as we are with him.”
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With the sport facing unprecedented revenue losses due to the coronavirus, lucrative extensions have been few and far between this offseason. “Unprecedented times” is more than just a cliche euphemism for the pandemic — it’s negotiational poison.
Jones admitted this, along with Prescott’s instance on a four-year contract, ultimately torpedoed what were oft-stagnated talks.
“We’ve never had one quite like it. It’s certainly very interesting times when you look at what’s going on with having to sit down with the union and negotiate what goes on with the virus when the revenues aren’t where they should be,” he said. “So we had some challenges because it wasn’t normal times. Certainly, we’ve got nothing but respect for Dak and his representation in terms of what they’re trying to get out of the deal.
“They certainly want a shorter deal. Historically we have, as management, wanted longer deals because it’s more cap friendly and we’re able to spread some things out and keep some players. At the end of the day, and Dak understands this, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL