A prescient Daryl Johnston feels Dak Prescott missed the boat on his desired windfall, and it may not circle back around until normalcy is restored.
The legendary Cowboys fullback, in a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News, made the case that the coronavirus and its associated effects on the sport’s landscape torpedoed Prescott’s odds of landing a long-term contract from the organization.
“We all know one of the most important things in our lives is timing. And this is just horrible timing for Dak Prescott,” Johnston said. “Depending on how everything plays out moving forward, will he ever kind of reflect back and go ‘boy I should’ve signed that $35 million a year deal 12 months ago.
“One of the things that you’ve seen NFL teams be able to do is sign these contracts and bring in players because they anticipate that increase in the cap, and are we going to provide any special situations for COVID-19 in regards to a salary cap for professional sports? I would think not.”
The Cowboys first made an offer to Prescott’s camp last September, reportedly worth around $33 million with upwards of $105 million in guaranteed money. Prescott turned down the proposal and counted by allegedly demanding $40 million, which the team rejected.
On-again, off-again haggling in the months that followed eventually led Dallas to increase its offer. ESPN’s Todd Archer reported in May that the front office put a five-year contract on the table that would pay Prescott at or near $35 million per year and include guarantees approaching $110 million — the NFL’s high-water mark before Patrick Mahomes inked his $503 million megadeal.
But the holdup then, and now, is the length of said offers. Prescott is holding firm for a four-year commitment, allowing him to cash in again when the league’s salary cap has ballooned. Jerry Jones and Co., meanwhile, haven’t budged from their five-year stance, standard operating procedure for in-house extensions.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Pandemic at Play
Johnston says COVID-19 is a bigger detriment to talks than many realize, however. He pointed to the Cowboys’ projected loss of revenue amid a potentially fan-less 2020 season as a significant factor for his skepticism.
“The last time I saw some of the numbers with if the NFL plays in front of empty stadiums, it was $5.5 billion in lost revenue with the Dallas Cowboys being the team in the NFL that was hit the hardest at $800 million. So their cap is definitely coming down,” Johnston said. “I don’t think it’s gonna be flat, there’s gonna be a negative impact on the cap.
“I don’t think in this environment, the way that everything lays out on the landscape right now that you can sign that long-term deal with Dak Prescott. You may be forced to do back-to-back franchise tags and then you’ll have all that debate. All that drama from this time moving forward until that gets done. I think everybody has to look at it and say these are unusual times and that’s why we’re doing an unusual approach to this situation.”
Schefter Gives Latest on Dak Discussions
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reiterated for the umpteenth time Prescott likely won’t accept what Dallas wants, and that’s a half-decade agreement. Interestingly, though, the NFL insider suggested the club could leverage Mahomes’ pact against their two-time Pro Bowl passer.
“Dak Prescott is adamant that it’s a four-year deal,” Schefter said, via 247Sports. “The Cowboys want at least a five-year deal. Now we see Patrick Mahomes come in with a 10-year deal, double what the Dallas Cowboys want to give Dak Prescott. If you’re Dallas, you’re going to say to Dak, “look Mahomes just gave up 10 years, why can’t you give up five?’”
The Cowboys and Prescott have until July 15 to reach an accord. If not, negotiations will be tabled and the 26-year-old will play the upcoming campaign on his $31.4 million exclusive franchise tag, perhaps with an eye on testing 2021 free agency.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL