Beginning with the “Original 88,” Drew Pearson, who issued a warning to the Cowboys’ front office over potentially franchise-tagging the previously-tagged quarterback, a repeat maneuver that likely would catalyze Dak’s departure from Big D.
“Where do you go if you don’t sign Dak?” Pearson asked rhetorically in a recent interview with CBS Sports, via Inside The Star. “If you let him go, especially if you let him play under the franchise tag this season and you don’t sign him anywhere along the line to a long-term contract, Dak ain’t gonna be here after that. The man has a lot of pride and he sees what’s going on. He wants to be quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. It is a big deal.”
“If he has to play the full season under that franchise tag, Jerry’s really taking a risk in that case … not only with Dak as a quarterback of the Cowboys but within the rest of that football team because Dak has a tremendous influence in that locker room,” Pearson added. “He is the leader. He sets the pace.”
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Another Country Heard From …
In an unrelated interview days before Pearson’s, Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and outspoken Prescott advocate Michael Irvin strongly urged Dallas to forego the one-year tender for a multi-year contract.
“The No. 1 priority should be Dak, that’s no doubt,” Irvin said last week on 105.3 The Fan, via Inside The Star. “Then No. 2, should be Prescott. Then No. 3 should be Dakota. No. 4 should be Rayne. That’s all I want to hear. Understand what I’m saying? That’s it. That’s all I want to hear. I don’t care about all this other stuff. Then, after we get through Dak, Dakota, Rayne, and Prescott then we will get to defense. Dak is the first four all by himself.”
Deadlocked after months-long negotiations, Prescott — who rejected several contract offers from the Cowboys, including a proposal that would have paid roughly $34.5 million annually and included $110 million in guarantees — played 2020 on his $31.4 million tag before suffering a season-ending ankle injury on Oct. 11. He’s repeatedly expressed a desire to remain with the organization for the duration of his career, and the Cowboys have responded in kind, vowing to reach an accord this season prior to his age-28 campaign.
As of press time, however, there have been no indications that an agreement is imminent — or even being discussed.
The Cowboys’ window to apply the 2021 franchise tag officially opens Tuesday and extends to March 9, eight days before the formal start of unrestricted free agency.
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Aikman Predicts When Dallas Sees ‘The Last Of’ Dak
In a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News, Cowboys legend and FOX commentator Troy Aikman — similarly to Pearson and Irvin — criticized the organization over their beaten-to-death failure in negotiations with Prescott, suggesting that if he’s tagged a second time, “that will be the last we see of” him in silver and blue.
“They’re not going to get very far without a franchise quarterback,’’ Aikman told DMN columnist David Moore. “They’ve got that in Dak. I think the price tag went up. I think Dak’s leverage went up after this year.’’
“I’d be really surprised if [Prescott] is playing under the franchise tag again this year. My guess is if he is, that will be the last we see of Dak Prescott [in Dallas]. I just can’t imagine that he’s going to feel really good giving an open negotiation to the Cowboys if he’s played two years under the franchise tag.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL