In a morbid sense, Dak Prescott’s hideous ankle injury was the best thing that could have happened to his bank account.
Prescott ended up missing 11 of the 2020 Dallas Cowboys‘ 16 regular-season games, only four of which were wins in his absence with various backups under center. The offense was noticeably and considerably diminished without the franchise quarterback, who enters the offseason holding all the contractual cards.
So says the man responsible for cutting his checks.
“I don’t know how you could have any more leverage,” Jones said 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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‘Top of the List’
As most know, the Cowboys and Prescott could not hammer out a multi-year contract prior to last July’s deadline. The final offer from the former to the latter, which he declined, reportedly included $110 million in guarantees and averaged $34.5 million annually.
Prescott chose to bet on himself by playing on his fully-guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tag. The sides were not permitted to resume negotiations until after the 2020 campaign ended; they’ll return to the bargaining table in the weeks and months ahead. The expectation is that Prescott will again be slapped with the tag — a projected $37.7 million for 2021 — if discussions fail to yield an accord.
“One of the things that we’re going to have to really see where we are, and it will affect everybody, all 32 (teams), and it will affect our team, is what the consequences of the virus have had on our cap situation going forward and where is that salary cap going to be and what kind of cap are we going to manage into,” Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan.
“So all those things will play a role into players that we keep that are under contract, where we can sign — obviously Dak being at the top of that list — and then going from there.”
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Update on Rehab
Prescott’s right ankle compound fracture and dislocation, suffered on Oct. 11, came with an estimated recovery timeline of 4-6 months. Previous dispatches from the organization indicated he’s ahead of schedule, sans early setbacks.
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy reaffirmed Monday that “everything is right on course” in Prescott’s rehabilitation, which may conclude prior to the start of free agency.
“He’s here every day going through rehab. He’s making progress, and just as you’d expect, he’s going after it full speed,” McCarthy said, via ESPN. “So as far as the timeline, I don’t have the specifics on when he’s going to be doing on-the-field work and dates and things like that. I don’t have that for you. But I do know based on the plan for his surgery and what he’s supposed to be doing and where he is, everything is right on course.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL