Poll: Cowboys’ Contract Situation

We’ve nearly reached the daily-update stage of the Cowboys’ contract matrix. Even after the team extended Jaylon Smith, who would have been a 2020 RFA, its three stars remain on rookie contracts. With no news of Amari Cooper progress coming, and the fifth-year wide receiver indicating comfort in playing out a contract year, we will limit this to Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott hypotheses.

Both marquee Cowboys have been in the news constantly this month. Multiple reports pegged Prescott as turning down a $30MM-per-year deal, with another indicating he wants to surpass Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-AAV mark to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. Elliott, meanwhile, returned to Mexico after a Jerry Jones joke that did not go over well. Elliott’s holdout is nearing a month. Will the Cowboys resolve these situations by Week 1?

Dallas has done well to take care of its homegrown players in recent years. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin are all on long-term contracts. The Cowboys extended DeMarcus Lawrence and Dez Bryant as well and just gave Smith $19MM fully guaranteed. But the team has angled for its current batch of standouts to take less for the greater good. Judging by Prescott’s comments on that subject this summer, and Elliott remaining in Mexico despite receiving an offer reportedly north of the Le’Veon BellDavid Johnson tier, the players do not look to have this strategy in mind.

Prescott is entering his contract year, doing so in the same type of situation Wilson did four years ago. After he drove a hard bargain all summer, the Seahawks quarterback signed an August extension rather than play on a third-round salary for a fourth season. A 2016 fourth-round pick, Prescott faces the prospect of a $2MM 2019 salary.

Elliott is under contract for two more seasons, thanks to the fifth-year option, but he’s accumulated a historic workload and may not be in as strong of a negotiating position next year were he to go through 2019 on a similar pace. Elliott’s holdout makes sense from that perspective, and he does not intend to play another down on his rookie contract. Despite Jones talking up rookie Tony Pollard, Elliott is a two-time rushing champion and has been essential in the Cowboys’ recent success.

The Cowboys also have Byron Jones and La’el Collins entering contract years, though the team having drafted Connor Williams and Connor McGovern may be a sign Collins will be allowed to test free agency. The defending NFC East champions have amassed perhaps their best talent core since their 1990s group, but the steps toward retaining it long-term have been elusive (and frustrating?) for the franchise. Although Jones remains confident in deals being finalized, we are now within two weeks of opening night.

How will the Cowboys proceed with Elliott and Prescott? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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10 comments on “Poll: Cowboys’ Contract Situation

  1. crosseyedlemon

    Not my choice for a poll but I was starting to wonder if they had been dropped altogether. Jerry probably sees this as his last chance to bathe in the glory that Robert Kraft has become accustomed to, so he will extend everyone then complain about having to downsize to a 200M dollar yacht.

  2. Z-A

    Okay…. literally nothing to do with how much Jerry makes at the end of the day. The salary cap is the salary cap. You can’t overpay everyone, and they have to figure out the cap for next year. Paying these 3 means this is the team moving forward there’s no room to add anyone else.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Actually it does have some effect on how much JJ makes since not every team is close to the $188M salary cap. There are 22 other teams in the NFL with larger payrolls than the Cowboys right now, so he is getting cheaper in his old age.

  3. Rondon

    Prescott thinking he’s worth Wilson money is a joke. He’s had one of the best o-lines in the NFL and has won nada. Elliot is a great athlete, no doubt, but again, with that 0-line they’re proving with Pollard, they don’t really need him. They need to pay Cooper and the defensive guys with more long term value.

    • Rocket32

      Shows how desperate teams are for even good/average QB’s, never mind great ones. People bash Prescott and some of the criticism is definitely valid, but a QB is more important then a WR or RB. They know what they have in Dak, moving on is a risk. They don’t pay Dak, if his replacement flops they have nothing unless their gonna roll out a 2015 Broncos or Legion Of Boom level defense. You can do better but you can also do worse then Dak.

      • phillyballers

        Could be some reclamation projects available… Winston, Mariota. But still, I’d rather try and trade Dak and give up draft capital for Tua.

  4. drum18

    This isn’t a pro or con regarding Dallas, but I do miss the days when an owner/fan could keep a team together. I often wonder how the San Franciscos, Denvers, Buffaloes, etc. would fare in this salary cap age.

    • LouGrozasToe

      Looking at the Pats, Bill has kept it together very well, so its possible that one of those teams might be able to do the same? My vote of those three would be S.F. would do fine nowadays.

  5. jessethegreat

    He built that team from the ground up with the line and Zeke as his most important playmaker. Sign Zeke long term since he’s your top playmaker. Tell Dak to play this season and prove his worth. If he puts up pro bowl QB numbers, franchise tag him and work on an extension, if not you sign a guy like Fitz in the offseason and draft a qb to groom. Even fitz would put up good numbers with their offense.

  6. dmarcus15

    Myself I would pull a Madden. Trade all 3 stock pile draft picks go for the Trevor Lawrence, Tua, or Herbert.
    The cowboys need to trade one of the 3 at least myself It would be Zeke he is the top guy at his position and would get a haul.

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