Franchise Tag Provision Held Up Dak Prescott Extension

After 18 months of Dak Prescott rumors, the Cowboys quarterback is tethered to his franchise tag salary until 2021. If/when the Cowboys revisit extension talks with their QB1, the negotiating starting point will certainly be different compared to where it was in 2019 and from the $35MM-per-year range in which it resided this summer.

Prescott was ready to accept Dallas’ $35MM-AAV offer in July, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports he wanted a provision in the deal that prevented the Cowboys from tagging him in the offseason after the contract expired. That proved to be a deal-breaker for Jerry Jones.

Jones said Tuesday, when asked about this sticking point, he views the tag as a valuable negotiating tool, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). This is an interesting disagreement, since it refers to a hypothetical negotiation in 2025. Quarterbacks of Prescott’s caliber rarely play out their contracts, but Prescott held firm in 2019 and played out his rookie deal — which ended up raising his price.

A cross-section of NFL executives now view Prescott’s forthcoming price range between $42-$43MM per year, La Canfora adds. That is considerably higher than where it was in 2019, when Prescott became extension-eligible, and where it was in 2020. Even though a record cap reduction could take place next year, the quarterback market has now seen Patrick Mahomes sign for $45MM (over 10 years) and Deshaun Watson raise the conventional QB-contract price to $39MM a year. Lamar Jackson will also be eligible to sign a monster extension by the time the Cowboys can negotiate with Dak again.

The deal Prescott was ready to sign in mid-July included $110MM guaranteed and $70MM in the first two years. At the time, that would have placed Prescott in the top three among guarantees. Watson’s pact includes $111MM guaranteed. Should the Cowboys tag Prescott again in 2021, it would mean a $38MM cap hit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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11 comments on “Franchise Tag Provision Held Up Dak Prescott Extension

  1. goldenmisfit

    I dare anyone to find one NFL owner who does not like franchise tags LOL

  2. bradthebluefish
    bradthebluefish

    Rather impressive on Jerry Jones side. He should’ve let go of the franchise tag in order to secure Prescott sooner… then again, I would’ve told Prescott to move along and stuck with Dalton at the helm.

  3. crosseyedlemon

    I’m pretty certain that if the Cowboys could somehow win a championship, Jerry would have a fire sale to beat all fire sales.

  4. getoffmylawn

    There’s a lot to like about Dak Prescott, but NO NFL player should be paid 20% of his team’s salary cap, Patrick Mahomes included. The NFLPA should’ve negotiated in the last deal a contract that would’ve guaranteed bigger payouts for running backs and other positions while trading off smaller cap percentage maximums for quarterbacks. A lot of fans don’t want to be reminded that one big reason that the Patriots were successful for so long (but hardly the only reason) was that Tom Brady willingly took lower-than-market deals to help his team spread the cap around to keep as many of his teammates around to continue success. I hope these quarterbacks enjoy losing and resentment from their teammates as they earn over-the-top cap percentages in the future. At least it’s not the NBA with its ridiculous Larry Bird Rule that allows teams to go over the salary cap.

    • compassrose

      Your argument had no merit. Every player knows the hierarchy of the league. Yes some positions go up and down like RB TE etc but QB elite WR and LT are highest in Off. There is no malice held for the most part of the QBs making more. There are always the trouble makers but I am talking about the whole team. You think a RG is mad a LT makes a lot more than him?

      When getting hired for a job if someone has certain certs or college classes etc than you wouldn’t you expect him to be paid more? The QB is the most important player on a team they get paid more.

      Now are we talking about getting overpaid? Dak getting $42 mill a year is an overpay. Only some of the hardcore Dallas homers would take Dak over Mahomes Wilson Rodgers etc. He will be paid more per year than all those but Mahomes has the most guaranteed more than likely. Last have you paid attention to the NFLPA? They are the weakest union in sports. They roll over like whipped dogs on most issues. They would never take a stand that big.

      • Ak185

        If there were no malice, why do players demand to be highest paid at their respective positions? They may accept that quarterbacks will always be paid ludicrous amounts of money, but it seems like a rather generous assumption to posit that they do like it on the whole.

        I’m not even really sure why you’re arguing-getoffmylawn never said that players do not expect to be paid less than QBs. He said that the size of the contracts are ridiculous respective to other positions, expected or not. Your argument is that players are cool with that, of which there is little evidence other than inferring that. If that assumption were true, it is puzzling why players like Jalen Ramsay or DeAndre Hopkins pushed for the staggering amounts of money that they did. Even if they could not beat them, they were pushing for quarterback money. That does not happen if a player is simply “okay” with making less. They obviously view themselves as equally or more valuable on the field than quarterbacks.

        Lastly, there is zero reason to dispute the fact that the less money a team spends on an individual player, the more it can spend all around, significantly increasing its chances of success. That’s what led to this whole discussion in the first place, and nobody can really argue against that.

  5. djhorvath

    Let him walk or tag him another season. No quarterback whom is 1-7 in one possession games deserves that kind of money. Not even close. Before the supporters say ‘it’s not all on him’, it never is yet guys like Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Mahomes, etc etc manage to pull out their fair share and most do it with less weapons.

    • Ak185

      To be fair, Prescott has been in the league for much less time. After four years of play, many of those other QBs (except maybe Manning) had yet to become the players they were known to be.

      I’m not putting Prescott up there at this time, and likely will not when his career is done, but I will also say that those other guys had pretty good weapons in the early parts of their careers-or at least elite help on the sideline or other side of the ball. Manning had Harrison, Rodgers had Driver, Nelson and Jennings, Mahomes has Kelce and Hill, and Brady had an elite defense (better than an elite offense in close games, by far and away). Cooper is good but he’s not a franchise great at this point. Gallup is a number two at best. Lamb is a rookie. So, yes, I do agree that Prescott is not worth that money individually but it’s still early in his career.

      Prescott has some weapons, but every great QB does. Most elite QBs start that way (it’s hard to find a great QB who hasn’t had talent around him), then learn how to be elite with what they have later on as they get experience.

  6. mazzith

    I wish these writers would actually look at the real numbers of the guaranteed money of both Mahomes and Watson’s contracts. Both of them are much lower than they claim. Mahomes deal is actually closer to the 35 mil range and Watson’s is around 26.8mil.

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