Addressing reporters in his annual State of Training Camp news conference, Jones dubbed Dak Prescott “our quarterback of the future” and suggested the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than the total value or length of the team’s offers, solely prevented a “generational” windfall for the former Pro Bowl passer.
The implication being, it gets done in a normal offseason.
“I don’t even want to be glib or trite when I say that’s a part of professional sports is sitting down, talking about the money. That’s a part of that,” Jones said Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “Dak is outstanding. He’s probably one of the top people that I’ve been around for his age and his cumulative experience. . . . We think he’s outstanding. We think he’s our quarterback of the future. We just couldn’t get together at this particular time. I think it’s easily worth nothing that a lot of people this year in the franchise mode didn’t get together. One of the biggest reasons is the backdrop of COVID. One of the biggest reasons is the economic issue. I’ve just spent weeks and weeks, a part of this rasp voice on the phone, talking with the NFL and the players association, working through the economic consequences and candidly, nobody knows what’s going to be there next year or next year or the next year. Frankly, we all know that what we were talking about in Dak’s case is the next year and the next year and the next year and the next year. So all of that came to bear, and this was just less than stable time to be talking about serious, serious — generational if you will, to use Dak’s term — dollars in an unknown period of time looking forward. That certainly was one of the issues.”
Prescott and the front office failed to reach a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline. Months of haggling over lucrative proposals — Dallas reportedly was willing to pay between $33-35 million annually, guaranteeing roughly $110 million — ultimately “forced” Prescott into playing the 2020 season on his fully-guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tag.
The parties cannot resume negotiations until next offseason when the 2016 fourth-round pick either will hit unrestricted free agency or again receive the tag, this time at a cost of $37.7 million.
Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, seated (virtually) alongside Jerry and head coach Mike McCarthy, was a bit more forthright than his father, conceding “term of the deal was a big part of” the stalemate.
But similarly unwavering.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t change the way we feel about Dak. …I’m more convinced than ever that we will get [a contract done],” Stephen Jones said Wednesday, via the Dallas Morning News.
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Dak States Case to Remain in Dallas For Rest of Career
No hard feelings. No bad blood. Water under the bridge. Pick a cliche, and it applies. Made available to the media for the first time since January, Prescott reiterated his commitment to the organization despite being unsigned beyond the 2020 season.
“Business is business, and once I’m in the locker room and part of what’s going on now, I don’t focus too much about the future,” Prescott said Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “It’s more about today. So with that being said, I’m excited to be a Dallas Cowboy. I’ve been a fan of this organization. I’ve been a fan of this program for years. I love every bit of the opportunity and the platform that I get to be the quarterback here. I love this team. I’m excited about what we can do and accomplish this year. No frustration as far as that. Once again, I believe something will get done, and I also believe I’ll be a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of my career.”
Prescott, who claimed after the deadline passed that he “couldn’t be happier” to remain in Dallas, admitted, “there are reasons probably [a deal] didn’t get done from both sides.”
Nevertheless, in the short-term, Dak’s positioned to eclipse the career year (4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns) he enjoyed in 2019. An offense that featured Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Gallup was further enhanced with the addition of first-round rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb, whom his QB already is boasting about.
“Great guy. Great athlete. Great player. Excited for his future. Excited for now,” Prescott told reporters Wednesday, via The Athletic. “He’s very smart, very talented and he wants to learn. He’s going to play a huge role in our success immediately and in the future. I couldn’t be happier with that pick.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL