Cowboys Skewered for Mishandling Dak Prescott Negotiations: ‘Blew It’

Dak Prescott

Getty Dak Prescott

Proof we’re living in weird times: even mild-mannered Peter King is dunking on Dallas.

The venerable NFL reporter joined a litany of critics who have blasted the team over its botched contract talks with star quarterback Dak Prescott.

“The Cowboys blew it,” King said Monday on the Dan Patrick Show. “The Cowboys should have signed Dak Prescott [last offseason]. … When has the price for a quarterback ever gone down? The Dallas Cowboys blew a chance to get Dak Prescott at his cheapest a year ago.”

It wasn’t for a lack of effort. Negotiations between the sides reached an apex last September, when a long-term deal for the two-time Pro Bowl passer was, as owner Jerry Jones termed, “imminent” — a characterization later confirmed by Cowboys VP Stephen Jones.

“We got real, real, real close there to start the season and just didn’t get it finished up,” Jones said in January.

What was a five-year offer worth $33.5 million annually with $105 million guaranteed eventually ballooned to $35 million per year and roughly $110 million in guarantees. The club was content making Prescott the league’s highest-paid passer (until Patrick Mahomes’ $503 million extension goes into effect). But it takes two to tango; the Cowboys couldn’t force their “No. 1 priority” to put pen to paper.

Standing his ground, Dak repeatedly rejected the Joneses’ proposals, never intending to sign for less than what he sought: a four-year agreement that, like Mahomes’ arrangement, tied his earning power to the league’s salary cap.

Prescott, knowing leverage is his, instead opted to bet on himself. He’ll play the 2020 season on his fully-guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tag and look toward unrestricted free agency next March. If tagged again in 2021, Dallas would fork over $37.7 million, a mandatory 20 percent increase in pay, to keep him under center.

Meaning future contract discussions, if they do take place, will start at $38 million annually and very well may surpass the $40 million threshold, ultra-rarified air where only Mahomes resides.

If not, Prescott stands to collect approximately $70 million before turning 28, still in his prime. By that point, QB salaries likely will skyrocket to such a degree that a half-billion dollars doesn’t seem so outlandish.

Ultimately, King isn’t wrong. The Cowboys did wait too long to get serious with Dak and the price for a top-10 signal-caller certainly won’t go down. Ever.

Spilled milk leads to a spoiled outcome. Whodathunkit.

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Ex-NFL Exec: Dak to Get ‘Much Better’ Deal than Mahomes

Appearing on the Ross Tucker Podcast, former Green Bay Packers vice president and sports business expert Andrew Brandt expressed his belief that Prescott, as soon as 2021, will “eclipse” Mahomes’ astronomical pact “by a good margin.”

“Prescott is setting himself up for a massive contract, and in my view, a much better contract than Mahomes,” Brandt said, later adding, “Mark my words.”

Brandt, an expert negotiator during his Packers tenure, opined that Dallas “would have loved” to lock down Prescott for the next decade, giving the front office flexibility to spread out what would be monstrous cap hits. However, the 26-year-old simply “is not having that.”

In essence, Brandt pushed back against the notion that Dak’s unwillingness to compromise with the Cowboys is an indictment on his future with the franchise — or lack thereof.

“People say, ‘Well, he doesn’t want to be on the team as much as Mahomes.’ Come on. Of course he wants to be on the team. But he wants optionality in his career, he wants a shorter deal. He wants to commit for four or five years, and he wants to be paid,” Brandt said. “That’s something every player wants. It’s not that they don’t want to be on the team.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL