Cowboys, Dak Prescott Agree To Extension

The Cowboys’ two-year negotiation saga with Dak Prescott is over. The team announced it has an extension agreement in place with its five-year starting quarterback.

This will prevent Dallas from having to tag Prescott for a second time, at a $37.7MM price, and give the franchise long-sought-after quarterback security. This deal comes after a few reports indicating increased optimism appeared present in Round 3 of the parties’ negotiations. Such reports turned out to be prescient.

The numbers are in. This is a major win for Prescott. Dallas’ QB1 agreed to a four-year, $160MM contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Dak will receive an NFL-record $126MM guaranteed, with Schefter adding that the deal will also includes a $66MM signing bonus and $75MM in Year 1 (Twitter link). The latter figures are also NFL records. This monster accord will come with a no-trade clause and will prevent the Cowboys from tagging Prescott again in 2025, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Incentives could bump the deal to $164MM.

The NFL now has two $40MM-per-year players — Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. While Mahomes’ $45MM-per-year deal is a Chiefs-friendly accord, in that it is a 10-year pact, Prescott’s tops Deshaun Watson‘s contract ($39MM AAV) in terms of traditional quarterback pacts. Prescott’s 2021 cap number will be $22.2MM, Schefter tweets. The Cowboys will use two void years to help with signing bonus proration, Schefter notes (on Twitter).

After haggling with Team Dak for nearly two years, the Cowboys made an aggressive push to finalize this deal Monday, Schefter tweets. The team became more amenable to a shorter-term Prescott pact, per Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter) this time around. The Cowboys had previously sought a five-year contract for their quarterback; that ended up prompting Prescott to play last season on the tag. The team’s newfound urgency surely stemmed from the March 9 franchise tag deadline.

Prescott, 27, became extension-eligible after the 2018 regular season ended. The former fourth-round pick and Offensive Rookie of the Year played the 2019 season on his rookie deal and played the 2020 slate on the tag. A day ahead of this year’s deadline to designate franchise players, the sides concluded this arduous process. By avoiding the $37MM-plus payment clogging up their cap, the Cowboys will have more free agency funds. It took an incredible financial commitment to do so.

When Prescott first became eligible for an extension, the NFL had not seen a player land a $35MM-AAV pact. Russell Wilson did so in April 2019. No $40MM-per-year player emerged until Mahomes’ summer 2020 extension. By moving into a third offseason of negotiations, Prescott was able to secure a tremendous agreement — compared to where these negotiations started. And he did so after suffering a brutal ankle injury last October. Prescott underwent a second surgery in December but is expected to be ready for training camp. The Cowboys’ inability to compete without Prescott last season may only have increased their QB’s leverage.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Prescott is not held in the same esteem as Mahomes or Watson. But Kirk Cousins was certainly not viewed as a top-tier quarterback when he secured a then-record $28MM-per-year contract in 2018. Cousins used the two-tag scenario to pave a path out of Washington; the Cowboys paid up to stop Prescott from following such a route.

The Cowboys must now build a competitive roster around this contract. They spent much of 2019 and ’20 authorizing extensions for core players; they now have Prescott locked down. The team will be banking on the next round of TV deals producing significant cap spikes in the near future — a matter on which Jerry Jones is well informed. That coming to pass would help the organization assemble a strong team around Prescott going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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98 comments on “Cowboys, Dak Prescott Agree To Extension

  1. bush5104

    First….which is ironically what Dak won’t be finishing in very much playing for Dallas.

    • OhthePossibilities

      IDK… it’s not like that division has ANY competently run teams right now

        • What needs translating? He said ‘first’, which is a joke reply when someone is the first comment on a post. Then he said ‘first’ (as in first place) is something Dak won’t be finishing in because he expects the Cowboys to be terrible.

          • Ak185

            Ehh, I feel like there are a lot of older or less Internet savvy members here who might not know the whole “first” thing, to be fair.

              • compassrose

                What the hell is internet? We had encyclopedias and books. After having a couple kids they got wifi. It made these weird sounds and a few minutes later when opening a page not even close to opening a book they all started with an hour glass turning over. Put down your phones and tpuck up a book. An encyclopedia might be nice. They have interesting stuff in them. Not like this wifi with naked ladies. Oops just told on myself.

    • CoachWe

      Pushing obligations forward. Only a $22 mil cap hit this year. Interesting

      • gozurman1

        One would think other teams would learn from such tactics after witnessing what the Steelers are going through with a QB with a huge cap number because they pushed the hit into the future.

        • justinkm19

          Why? Just flip the switch later and turn into a bonus. Teams do it all the time.

          • gozurman1

            Which eventually caught up with the Steelers this year. Even with the restructure they still have 26 mill in cap tied up in Ben and he no longer is worth that s. QB. They have no room to fill the holes on offense and can’t keep Dupree on defense and keep their defensive backs together for a run one more time.

            • CoachWe

              Correct, it eventually catches up bc the dead money issue does not go away.

            • padam

              I thought the restructuring of Ben’s contract opened up 15M in cap? Still not enough for what they need, but it’ll lock down something.

        • cka2nd

          The Saints have showed that you can push the can down the road for a pretty long time. It may catch up to you eventually, but you can do a lot before it does. The Saints made it work – it wasn’t missing pieces on their roster that kept the Saints from winning another Super Bowl the last four years – though I’m not sure that this last extension for Big Ben worked for the Steelers.

  2. dan55

    Wow. I see Dak as a slightly better version of Jared Goff, so I’m not sure why he was given Deshaun Watson money. But good for him.

    • Tatsumaki

      The gap between him and goff is pretty wide….again a terrible take from dan55. Do you watch football or just say the first thing that comes to mind?

      I’m not high on dak but his qbr has routinely been above average 65-75 goff has only had a decent qbr 1 year. At least compare players correctly….

      • bravesfan88

        Yeah, Dak certainly isn’t worth this contract, but he is definitely better than Goof..I mean Goff..lol

        Dak has been protected by an outstanding O-Line, and one of the game’s premiere RBs his entire career. He’s also had some pretty solid weapons from which to work with as well.

        You put almost any other mid tier QB in that same situation, and they would be performing easily as well as Dak, if not better..

        I’m not knocking the dude, he’s a solid QB, but his greed just assured him he’s never getting past the 1st Round of the playoffs, if even making it there. He is quickly going to lose that protection around him, and unless he grows and gets better substantially Dallas is doomed for more mediocrity

        • GabeOfThrones

          Dallas is doomed for mediocrity until Jerry Jones dies, at the very least, and possibly until Stephen Jones follows him. They luck out occasionally and get some star players which make them competitive here and there, but overall, the front office is light-years behind other organizations. Bad coach + bad GM + bad owner = mediocrity.

          • Ak185

            Bad+bad+bad=bad, not mediocre. Mediocre is unexciting, mediocre is underachieving, mediocre is ultimately inconsequential, but it’s more successful than bad.

            The Cowboys don’t achieve much, but they are very rarely outright terrible. Despite the poor finish this past year, most of the they end up in the 4-7 on a 10 scale. That’s far from being “light-years” behind most of the NFL. The Cowboys have had only three losing season this decade-not great, but then again, it’s hardly “light-years” behind the other teams. Jones actually has a winning record as GM. It’s not great, but it’s not “light-years behind”. The point is that mediocre and outright terrible are two different things. The Cowboys are usually good enough to have a shot at competing, but not usually good enough to win in the end. There are some teams who can’t even say that.

            • crosseyedlemon

              Good comment Ak185. The Cowboys are by far the most financially valuable franchise in the NFL and have been for some time. You don’t achieve that status by being a bad organization. I’m not a big fan of Jerry Jones but he certainly deserves some respect as a businessman.

          • badco44

            Geez, that bad, bad, bad statement sounds like the Washington org. …thing is it’s been 20 years of bad there

            • Even the Redskins win the division occasionally. Three or four times in the last fifteen years I believe. The NFC East has only been so weak for a year or two. Memories are short – the NFC East was one of the dominant and overachieving divisions for thirty years.

          • CoachWe

            This is correct. He is a disaster. Jimmy Johnson in an interview kinda indicated that himself.

        • padam

          What he does gain is 126M in guaranteed money. I’m sure that will quell the sorrow in his heart for winning.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I agree and also think this is a great lesson for those players who believe Twitter is the best tool for contract negotiations. It’s better to get a good agent and let the process play out (even if it takes 2 years).

  3. noraj9

    I’m curious how this would be viewed if Dak played for anyone other than the Cowboys.

    • Stat_head

      Like an act of insanity. However, every player on the Cowboys is better simply because they play for the Cowboys so this presumably be viewed as a bargain, or at least reasonable.

      • Ak185

        I dunno. I feel like a lot of people do the opposite and treat players worse for playing for Dallas too.

        The Cowboys aren’t really treated much different than other big ticket teams honestly. I always find this to be an overstated phenomenon, both for and against Dallas. At least in my view.

        No matter what team this is, though, that’s a whopper of a contract that the team will now have to build around. It’s going to carry a lot of question marks, no matter what you think of Jones or the Cowboys.

        • RonJohn00

          Nobody cares about the cowboys, there’s nothing special about them. The NFL has a salary cap so being a “rich team” only buys a fancy stadium. It has no effect on competitiveness. Any comparison to other leagues is laughably ignorant.

        • bencole

          I think the problem is, the Cowboys aren’t good, and haven’t been for many years. Considering them a big-ticket team is exactly what we’re talking about.

  4. dust44

    Cowboys had to do this. What were they gunna do? Nope to hit on another mid round pick at QB and pay him next to nothing to start? Plus that team is set up to win now in that division. Best WR duo in that division. Best RB in the division and even tho they under performed, when healthy the best offensive line in that division. Now they can spend on the defense and draft a couple offensive linemen for reinforcements for the oft injured guys.

    • How are they gonna spend anything on the defense when they’ve got all of these outrageous contracts already? Only so much space left on the salary cap after paying Dak, Zeke, Cooper, Lawrence, etc. My god they’ll have better than half of their salary cap going to 5 players! Good luck with that, Dallas.

  5. RyanO

    How does 75 mil in year 1 help their cap? Maybe I’m missing something like it’s a signing bonus they can spread out …

    Seems like a panic move to me by the ‘boys. Coulda had him at roughly 35 per a year ago and 30 year before. Can’t tag him again, 4 year deal, all those guarantees .. not sure what they’ve gained by waiting.

    • dan55

      The 75 number includes his signing bonus. He’s not actually getting $75 million in 2021.

      • RyanO

        Yeah they updated the article to clarify his cap number for this year, I assumed it was more favorable than the 37.7 mil otherwise why do it.

      • cka2nd

        Oh, HE’S actually getting $75 million this year, it’s just that the signing bonus is prorated over five years for the club, this year and the four years of the extension, 2022-2025, $13.2 million a year.

        $9 mil base salary + $13.2 mil prorated salary bonus = $22.2 mil cap hit.

        $9 mil base salary + $66 mil salary bonus = $75 mil cash paid.

  6. rondon

    Well, without a doubt you can say some good things about this guy. But he is in no way shape or form in the same league with Mahomes or Wilson. Until he actually wins something in the postseason, he’s just a gigantic financial gamble for the Cowboys.

    • crosseyedlemon

      With respect to a fellow Bear fan, how can a QB who is 31-3 when he has a triple digit passer rating be a gigantic financial gamble?

  7. 1963reds

    ok Cowboy fans… expect to pay even more to go see a game now that senile Jerry Jones way over paid for a QB that is not worth that kind of money. No way Dak is worth that much!

  8. paindonthurt

    He looked like the best QB in the league this year prior to the injury. I’ve not been high on him until 2020. He was incredible. Is that the new him or is he 2nd tier? I don’t know.

    • Paindonthurt –
      Best QB in the game? His season consisted of 5 games. The team went 2-3 in those games, during which he threw 9 TD and 4 picks. Not exactly a lot of TD’s and a pretty fair amount of INT’s. Sure, he had a lot of yards, but he also threw the ball 45 times a game (which makes his TD total look that much more “average”).

      Aaron Rodgers has averaged LESS than 4 picks for an entire season over the last 3 years. How many yards do you think Mahomes would have if the threw the ball 45 times a game?

      Dak is a slightly above average QB making WAY more money than he should be. The Cowboys now have arguably the most overpaid QB, RB, and WR in the entire league.

  9. Footballguy5

    This is totally absurd. Dak was not elite..BEFORE his foot almost got torn off his leg. I have the feeling this contract ages much like most top RB contracts. Dak’s first call better be to Andy Dalton, bcs his incompetence heavily contributed to Dak gettin paid.

    • mlbnyyfan

      Why didn’t they just tag him again to see how he plays after injury. It’s a predictable move by Jones though. They could of easily moved on from Dak but Jerry and his ego wouldn’t allow it

  10. eagles1191

    Any divisional rival fan is happy to see this. Dak, Cooper and Elliott eating up a lot of cap. Yes they will have a top 10 offense, but there defense is bad, and if they can’t improve the D, they won’t get far in the playoffs. With a tight cap, they will have to cut some players to try and add in FRee agency. Good for Dak.

  11. kevin

    well I kinda look at it this way Mahomes focused on SB and is a team player when it comes to knowing u need more then just yourself to win a sb so he takes left so theirs enough on the bone to go and get who he wants and who they need.

    Dak to me is just looking to cash in and to me isn’t looking towards a SB but instead being selfish and not a team player .

    but I also look at dak as not being that elite qb atm as it’s easy when u have a good rb and line to take all the pressure off.

    I don’t think he will too this deal when it comes time for his next contact .

    I get he wants to look out for himself nothing wrong with it but in my eyes ur taking away from a possibility of a sb being greedy.

    the cowboys paying a lot for just their qb and rb it will definitely hurt em theirs comp in their division

    let’s hope dak is better with his money the. the bunch of nfl and former nfl players that blew their money

    • dan55

      Mahomes signed for $500 million with $450 million guaranteed. How is that being a team player? How is that any different from what Dak just did?

      • wrigleyhawkeye

        1) Mahomes guarantee is really “only” $140M but can be $477M if he meets all escalators such as winning MVP and Super Bowls.
        2) Dak is not Mahomes on or off the field
        3) Dak is no Rodgers, Mahomes, Wilson, Watson, Stafford, Jackson, or Brady. At this point he’s Murray or Wentz.

      • Triteon

        Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450MM extension with $141MM guaranteed. Keep in mind the extension doesn’t hit $40MM in a season until 2023, and the extension doesn’t kick in until 2022. When you factor in inflation and a rising cap over the course of a decade, it’s projected to be undervalued and has been called by many very team-friendly. You can’t simply look at bottom-line numbers and make a rational comparison of the two contracts.

      • CoachWe

        It will interesting to see where the roster is in 2 years. Squeezing to tier talent to fill needed holes will be the challenge for KC around 2023 and beyond. IF there is a massive recovery to the Cap, then less of an issue.

  12. Jimmy Johnson’s Ghost

    Just when I thought my Monday couldn’t suck any harder…..

  13. Ak185

    I like Dak, but who else is going to play for the Cowboys? There’s not much way Dallas can build around this contract.

    • bigeasye

      Agreed. Solid player. I. Today’s landscape he’s probably worth 35. I don’t think he gets 40 in the open market but Dallas saw how bad they were without them.

  14. justinkm19

    And in two years will look like a bargain when lesser QBs are making 50 with the increase in the salary cap.

    • cubsnomore

      Exactly. Having watched the Bears for 50 years I can tell you having a good qb is everything. Dak is an above average statistical qb. He is also a tough dude, a gamer and a leader. None of that shows up in metrics.

  15. giants51

    Nice cap hit…. How does Jerry do it…. He has a number of players under big contracts…

  16. MileHighFan

    It’s all play money at this point. The new TV deals will soon have people like Blake Bortles making stupid money.

  17. jleve618

    He could always just cry and get out if he doesn’t want to stay. There is no downside to the long term deal anymore.

  18. jleve618

    I’d have just tagged him. I haven’t seen him running around since that injury, who is to say he will ever be the same? Carson wentz hadn’t come back up to this point.

  19. natsfan3437

    Cowboys literally wasted all that time just fo overpay dak. Congrats to dak though!

  20. mhdunbar99

    Jerry Jones just paid a Ferrari sticker price for a Geo Metro. Paying Dak more does not make him better (especially after an injury). Cowboys have doomed themselves to years of bad contracts and 6-10 finishes

  21. peterdipersio06

    The way I see it right now, mind you free agency hasn’t started yet, Dallas has the most talent of any team in the division. Philly is going through a transitional phase and getting ready to trade Ertz. WFT has traded Haskins and released Alex Smith which means they are pretty much in a transitional phase as well. The Giants don’t have much anyway. Daniel Jones is good one year and the next year he stinks so inconsistency is what is plaguing the Giants right now! It’s Dallas’s division to lose

    • rocky7

      This division is typically a dogfight so anointing the Cowboys the team with the “division to lose” is premature at best. Their defense had a hard time holding anyone under 35 points last year, and with defections probably will again this year….
      And as far as your consistency comment, Dallas problem will be building a competitive roster around not only this contract, but Elliot’s as well not just next year, but in years to come. With the Cap shrinking, exorbitant contracts like this just continues to plague teams that have more limited resources to cover the “other” players on a competitive roster who want to “get paid” as well…..these players will try and use these huge contracts to marquis players as leverage in salary negotiation.

    • cka2nd

      Even with Scherff franchised, Washington is between $37 million and $42 million under the cap, so while they may be in a transitional phase right now without a clear-cut QB1, they have the money and the draft picks to pretty much fill any of the holes in their roster so that even a Mariota, Darnold, Taylor, Heinicke or Allen could win them the division.

  22. chound

    Though rare, you can win a SB with a mediocre quarterback. One day someone will win a SB with a QB taking up over 20% of the cap. But what we aren’t going to see is a mediocre quarterback earning over 20% of his teams salary cap winning a SB. This is an amazing deal for Dak, but horrible for anyone wanting the Cowboys to win a SB.

  23. Rich

    OK, so the off season prior to the 2024 season the Cowboys will seek to trade Prescott resulting in a ton of dead money. We’ve seen this scenario playing out recently where teams have gotten buyers remorse after signing “franchise” QB’s to big deals. Unless that QB is winning SB’s, the allure of a rookie contract is blinding.

    $260M in dead money for 2021 as of yesterday.

  24. phillyballers

    What would I have done differently if I could play GM? Transition Tag. And signed Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, or a viable backup early in FA. Draft Alllllll defense besides Trask. And if you get close to July 15th, and he hasnt signed hes a fool. He can sit out or play. Cowboys can just restructure deals bc who cares about pushing money forward if Dak isn’t going to be there anyway beyond this season. You’ll have the cap space.

  25. crb15

    So now the cowboys have an overpaid QB, RB, WR, & Oline (at least the oline from last year that was in shambles with all the injuries). Add an overpaid DE and LB to that as well, Jerry has no clue.

    Dak is not terrible by any means, but he also is not elite or a leader. Paying him that much after THAT injury is absurd. Sure he puts up good stats, but doesn’t win the big games. Multiple mid tier QBs behind the oline that Dak has had for the past few years, with the same weapons will put up good numbers too. Maybe not as good as Dak, but at a more affordable price tag no doubt. Plus the smaller price tag would allow them to fill holes elsewhere. Leaders have the team rally and win the tough/close games (games that put you in the playoffs, as well as games in the playoffs). Leaders have their teammates stand up for them when they take a late hit or a cheap shot (Dak has taken multiple shots and not a single person has got in the face of the opposing team, like TB12’s teammates would). Leaders don’t make the same dumb plays over and over (he constantly takes sacks that kill drives/lose the game or tries to make miracle plays that end up as turnovers). Heck I remember the time he screwed up something as simple as a coin toss.

    You have a fairly high draft pick this year. You could’ve just tagged him to give him one last shot (the regular tag, so if someone wants to sign him and give up two 1st then let them) and drafted one of the QBs this year. Or just go with someone like Jameis and have Gilbert as the backup. Then focus on getting a pass rusher, DB help, and a tackle (Tyron keeps going down with injuries).

    However, getting a defense has never been Jerry’s strength. He just says go out there and try to put up 40-50 points and just outscore the other team. Heck if Pitts (Florida TE) is still there when it’s their turn to draft Jerry will probably pick him instead of filling an actual need. We saw how well that philosophy worked last year when Dak did play. They got lucky with the onside kick to not start the season 0-4.

  26. There is NO WAY that he is worth 4 years and $160M!!! And definitely not $126M guaranteed!!! They will definitely paying for this in the coming years!!

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