As part of a musical-chairs offseason that might see, among others, Deshaun Watson and Matthew Stafford change jerseys, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter explained how it’s possible for Dallas to tag and trade Prescott, slated to become an unrestricted free agent in March.
Possible, but hardly probable.
“To do that, they need a certain level of cooperation from Dak Prescott,” Schefter cautioned Thursday on ESPN’s Get Up. “He’s got to come in and sign that franchise tag knowing he’s being traded somewhere. If they had a deal worked out with somebody to a place where he didn’t want to go, what would be his incentive to sign that?
“This is, really, an unofficial no-trade tag that Dak Prescott has by getting the franchise tag, if indeed the Cowboys do put that tag on him. That would be his unofficial no-trade clause. They could not just trade him without his consent.”
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Don’t Bet On It
Schefter’s (virtual) roundtable co-host, Mike Greenberg, raised a good point: tag-and-trade deals are exceedingly rare in the NFL, especially involving a top-10 QB. (Such as with player-for-player swaps, the NBA owns a monopoly there.) To date, only one QB in league history, Matt Cassel, has ever been tagged and then shipped to another team. That happened in 2009, when Cassel was sent from the Patriots to the Chiefs.
Prescott is not Cassel. Prescott, 27, is entering the prime of what’s an ascending career despite the gruesome ankle injury he suffered last October. And the Cowboys recognize that. And the Cowboys will pay Prescott commensurate to his abilities, of which there are many — whether that’s via a long-term contract or the franchise tender, projected to cost approximately $37.7 million for the 2021 season.
And the team’s brain trust has claimed repeatedly since Prescott’s injury that they intend to retain the two-time Pro Bowl passer.
“I don’t know how you could have any more leverage,” Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said earlier this month on 105.3 The Fan. “… His evolving into an NFL quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture. He has great ability, in my mind, to win games. He’s talented. He certainly has the experiences and he has all the things, which has been substantiated by what we’ve offered Dak. You wouldn’t offer Dak what we offered in the past if you’d not thought he was very special. The issue is, how do you come together? And that’s no stranger to me. I’ve been doing it all my life, putting things together. We’ve got to get it together.”
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