Jerry Jones famously claimed his hand never cramps when signing a check — no matter how big the hit to his pocketbook. But the Dallas Cowboys owner likely will experience brain cramps this offseason while attempting to dredge the playoff-ready organization from the depths of salary cap hell.
Given that the Cowboys are, as of this writing, more than $21 million over the cap, Jones will have to jump through complex financial hoops that could include the restructuring of the richest player in franchise history: quarterback Dak Prescott, he of the $160 million megadeal inked last March.
Not even 11 months later, Dallas is likely to seek “relief” via Prescott’s exorbitant agreement, as explained by Bobby Belt of 105.3 The Fan.
“The only realistic relief with Prescott’s deal is a restructure, and it’s something that would seem likely given the Cowboys put two void years at the end of Prescott’s contract, and the final year doesn’t have any money on it right now,” Belt wrote on Thursday, January 27.
“Restructuring Prescott would give the Cowboys as much as $15.1 million in cap relief. They could choose to restructure a smaller portion of Prescott’s $20 million dollar salary in 2022, but they might as well maximize the savings given the empty void year at the end of the deal.”
ALL the latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!
A Months-Long Notion
Belt isn’t the first to suggest the Cowboys might alter Prescott’s pact. In October, ESPN’s Todd Archer indicated the team prefers to bite this particular bullet rather than turn to other highly-paid players on the roster, hat in hand.
“Restructuring Prescott’s contract will open the most space, perhaps as much as $15 million. That is the simplest decision for the Cowboys and why they signed him to a six-year deal that voids to four last March,” Archer wrote.
“They would like to avoid restructuring the contracts of running back Ezekiel Elliott, guard Zack Martin and offensive tackle Tyron Smith because of a combination of age, injury and future salary-cap ramifications.”
According to Over The Cap, Prescott’s base salary is scheduled to skyrocket from $2.750 million in 2021 to $20 million next season, with his cap figure doubling from $17.2 million to $34.45 million. His $31 million salary for 2023 will become guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.
“That would give Dallas some greater flexibility to free up money next offseason, but wouldn’t be available in 2022,” Belt noted.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
His contract aside, Prescott ranked within the top-10 in passing yards (4,449) and touchdowns (37), captaining the league’s top-ranked scoring offense which averaged 31.2 points per game.
The biggest beneficiary was wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who led the Cowboys with 79 catches for 1,102 yards. Lamb, for his trouble, is expected to be named an alternate to the 2022 Pro Bowl roster, the official team website announced.
If added to the NFC all-star squad as a replacement for San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel or Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp — one of whom will be Super Bowl-bound — Lamb would become the sixth Cowboy to make the cut, joining linebacker Micah Parsons, cornerback Trevon Diggs, right guard Zack Martin, left tackle Tyron Smith, and punter Bryan Anger.