How rarified? Ask Patrick Mahomes.
Appearing on 105.3 The Fan, former NFL general manager and current league insider Michael Lombardi explained his belief that Prescott’s next contract will cost in excess of $40 million per year, and thus, “giving him what he wants is really going to be a challenge” for the Cowboys.
“[Prescott’s agent] Todd France isn’t going to admit Patrick Mahomes is better than Dak, even though he is. He’s not going to admit that Deshaun Watson is better than Dak, even though he is. … Because of the situation, the market is so that it’s no longer who’s better and who deserves more, it’s who can get more. I think that unless Jerry and Stephen are willing to get in that $40 million a year range near Deshaun Watson, they really don’t have much more that they can do,” Lombardi said.
“I think you’ve got to get Dak done to a contract that you can live with. The problem is, how do you do it if you have to franchise Dak. How do you work around that number? And that’s the leverage that France has. France’s leverage is the fact that you want to reduce your cap. Jerry and Stephen (Jones) will get it down but it’ll keep them in gridlock for a while. So, now, you’re putting it to Dak (and saying to him), ‘Dak, do you want to win, or do you want to just hold us ransom? I mean, what do you want to do? The longer we go without doing a deal, you’re just hurting yourself. Because we’ll keep you at $45 million, or whatever the franchise tag number is, but you’ll have nobody to block for you and you might get hurt again. If that’s what you want, then go ahead and let’s do that. But if you want to help the football team – If you want to win a championship like you talk about doing, then let’s get some kind of deal done here so we can lower our cap number. I’m not trying to save money here. I’m trying to invest money into the team.”
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Dak Receives Contract Advice from Pro Bowl QB
Last year, after Prescott was slapped with the franchise tender, Minnesota Vikings counterpart Kirk Cousins assured Prescott that the tag “can be your friend.” This year, before Prescott potentially gets tagged a second time, Cousins is parroting his advice to the rehabbing star signal-caller, who remains “in a really good spot.”
“Well, the only piece I’ve said to him in crossing his path by going back maybe a couple of offseasons was just to make the point that the franchise tag can be your friend; it can be a help to you if that’s the route you choose to go,” Cousins told Pro Football Talk last week. “So, he played on the franchise tag this past year. I think he’s in a great spot now. Everybody knows he can play, and he’s an elite quarterback. Really, the ball is more in the court of the Cowboys and what they want to do going forward. But I think it’s a no-brainer that Dak’s the real deal and is going to have a great career moving forward. He’s in a really good spot.”
NFL Network intimated the Cowboys and Prescott are working toward a long-term deal while ESPN’s Adam Schefter cautioned that talks between the sides “still are not close” to materializing before March 9, the deadline to apply the franchise tag.
Three options remain for the parties in the days ahead: strike a multi-year agreement, resort to the $37.7 million tag for 2021, or, most improbably, execute a tag-and-trade involving an outside suitor.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL