And with that window opening comes an artificial deadline for the sides to forgo the tender and strike a multi-year contract agreement.
ESPN’s Todd Archer reported Monday that Dallas has held “discussions, if not actual negotiations” with Prescott’s agent, Todd France, who could score his client an ever-elusive long-term pact by March 9, the final day to use the 2021 tag.
“Between Tuesday and March 9, the Cowboys hope to work out a long-term deal with Prescott. There have been discussions – if not actual negotiations – with Prescott’s rep. Without a long-term deal by March 9, the next deadline to watch is July 15, the final day the sides can reach an agreement or else Prescott has [to] play the season on the tag,” Archer wrote.
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Compromise In Store?
At this point, the reason a contract didn’t foment in 2020 — despite the Cowboys floating several offers — is public knowledge. Prescott, 27, held firm for a four-year commitment, allowing him to re-test the market in his early 30s, while the organization wanted a five-year arrangement to spread out the massive salary-cap hits.
Archer recently reported that the sides remain deadlocked on the length of a prospective deal. But he believes there’s middle ground to be found: a six-year agreement that voids to four years.
“Both sides can then claim a win,” Archer wrote. “The Cowboys can get their salary-cap flexibility in the first two seasons of the deal when teams will be paying somewhat of a price because of the coronavirus pandemic (the NFL’s salary cap is projected to be down, at roughly $180 million for the next year), and Prescott can be back on the market in 2025.”
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Tag Remains Likely
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Prescott can “expect” to be tagged again by the Cowboys, paying him a fully-guaranteed $37.7 million for the 2021 campaign.
“Except if the Cowboys are able to do a long-term deal,” Rapoport cautioned. “And my understanding, is the Cowboys do want to work out a long-term deal with Prescott before they have to tag him. They are confident in his recovery to do that.”
Prescott is a little more than four months removed from surgery to repair a compound fracture and dislocation in his right ankle. He was expected to miss 4-6 months, putting him on track to be ready for spring practices.
The Cowboys currently own $27.905 million in available cap room, per Spotrac.com, which also projected Prescott to land a four-year, $147.28 million contract — $36.8 million annually — in free agency. The two-time Pro Bowl passer reportedly rejected a proposal last year worth around $34.5 million annually with $110 million guaranteed.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL