Cowboys, Dak Prescott Resume Negotiations

Although the Cowboys have until July to hammer out a long-term extension for Dak Prescott, a key deadline looms in a week. The team has until March 9 to use its franchise tag on its quarterback, or he will be on track for free agency a week later.

The Cowboys understandably would prefer to avoid having a $37MM cap charge on their books going into free agency. Seeking to extend Prescott before the March 9 tag deadline, the Cowboys have resumed negotiations with their sixth-year quarterback, Jane Slater of NFL.com notes (video link).

Prescott is not seeking to eclipse Patrick Mahomes‘ $45MM-per-year pact, per Slater, but the longtime Dallas starter is eyeing a deal that would put him behind the Chiefs superstar. Deshaun Watson‘s $39MM-AAV price may come into play, with that being a more traditional quarterback contract compared to Mahomes’ 10-year re-up. It is safe to say Prescott’s price has risen considerably during his two years of negotiations.

After the two-time Pro Bowler was linked to barely a $30MM-per-year pact in 2019, the 2020 talks centered around a deal that would have paid him in the $35MM-AAV range. A franchise tag provision held up an agreement last summer, though it is unclear how close the sides were to a deal. Prescott played the 2020 season, which became abbreviated because of his ankle injury, on the tag. Watson signed his contract a few weeks after the summer tag deadline, potentially changing this year’s talks.

Prescott’s camp sought a four-year extension in 2020, while the Cowboys pitched a five-year pact. That became a sticking point. The Cowboys’ 2020 offer was believed to have included around $110MM in guarantees. The franchise, as of now, is not believed to have proposed a hike in guaranteed money, Slater adds. That guarantee amount would come in behind only Mahomes and Watson, though it is not known how much of the pact would be fully guaranteed.

Prescott, 27, has been extension-eligible since the 2018 regular season ended, but this process will come to a head this year. The Cowboys not extending Prescott by July 15 would keep him on Kirk Cousins‘ former path in Washington. A 2022 franchise tag would be an untenable $54MM, raising the stakes for the third chapter of these negotiations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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37 comments on “Cowboys, Dak Prescott Resume Negotiations

  1. arty!

    If Dallas tags him again, I bet he won’t sign it. Boys can’t afford both a vacant QB1 position and $37m in cap space gobbled up.

    • bradthebluefish

      Jets, Bears, and Broncos would certainly claw after Prescott. Maybe Redskins, Eagles, Panthers, Giants, Patriots, Dolphins, Saints, etc.

    • ohmy

      bigeasye
      Absolutely not. Cowboys would be the only team to overpay for Prescott. He’s an average, at best, QB.

  2. mhdunbar99

    Cowboys are finally coming to the realization that painfully overpaying for familiarity is not a model for success. Dak is an average QB. Paying him as a top QB does not make him better. Dak should of taken the best offer the Cowboys made 1-2 years ago and he probably could of made millions more with endorsements as the long term Dallas QB.

  3. dray16

    No tag, no deal is my guess. wouldn’t shock me to see Dallas look elsewhere.

    • mdog

      It wouldn’t surprise me to see them let him go and move up in the draft to get a qb. It would be a risk to give player coming off a major injury like he had a big money contract.

  4. phillyballers

    So let’s recap… everyone QB that’s signed a big deal recently has either been traded, asked for a trade, or wanted to reevaluate their situation except Mahomes. Goff, Wentz, Watson, Rodgers, and Watson. Why even take the chance?

  5. CoachWe

    Sure, if the Cowboys trade players like Cooper or Elliot. Lots of dead money owed by Cowboys. Cap is way under projections from 2 years ago (Down almost $40 mil from 2019 projections for 2021).
    Timing is everything so TB,GB, SF & KC are fine for a year or two. Look for the Cowboys to walk from Dak, or perhaps they sign Dak, but trade Cooper. who can afford Coopers $20 mil with this Cap disaster?
    link to overthecap.com

  6. MileHighFan

    You can bet the Cowboys are going to make a costly mistake. It’s the only thing they’ve done consistently since the Jimmy Johnson era ended.

  7. CoachWe

    Fan comments are the only place where the truth is told anymore. Talking heads are puppets now.

  8. driftcat28

    I don’t understand how the Cowboys wanted to low ball Dak last offseason and eventually tag him but this year they’re in a rush to get a deal done after a horrific injury

    • Ak185

      It wasn’t the money, it was the contract length. Then, Dak was being smart and looking out for himself. Now, he’s leveraging the Cowboys’ fondness for him into negotiating power.

      At some point, Dak has to realize that the Cowboys will say, “I love him, but we have to have a contingency” and draft a QB and let him go. He’d have a better case of not for his injury, but now it’s part of the equation. He won’t get any more from another team than he will from Dallas. The injury hurts him, but it’s just reality. He should accept their offer-maybe not last year, but this year he should.

    • CoachWe

      The Cowboys lost Dak when they gave a RB $90 million. Amateur hour to pay a RB elite $$. Now Dallas must trade either Cooper or Elliot (or a slew of others) to pull off a longer term deal for Dak. Dallas may have to give picks to trade those guys with this current Cap crunch.

  9. Zkirton

    Would love to see them let him go. I’m sorry but he’s not a franchise qb. He’s not shown anything in the playoffs… ever. So why get paid like a guy that wins?

    • Ak185

      He does win. His record shows it. Playoff wins are much more a team affair than casual fans give them credit for. Don’t get me wrong-I do agree that Dak (his agent, mostly I think, who like most agents is looking to use this deal for his own shameless self-promotion like all agents do) is hurting himself with his personal evaluation of his worth versus what he really gains from getting back on the field and winning on it. But we can’t discount that he been good, especially for his draft status.

      Again, I do agree that he should realize that between his injury and Dallas’ overall disappointments in the playoffs (again, mostly not Dak’s fault), he doesn’t have as much negotiating power. No team will pay for Dak like Dallas would. He needs to realize that and be more willing to accept a deal for his own sake, and deliver on the promise that a contract like that breeds.

      • CoachWe

        You like Dak. Everyone loves him, and he is good. But he is not elite. I think Dak is in the 25-28 mill range for value, not 37 mil.

        • Ak185

          Nobody said anything about being elite. But if you can’t be good without being able to win, which is why I said what I did. He has value-maybe not as much as he would like to have, but he has it.

  10. ohmy

    bigeasye
    Absolutely not. Cowboys would be the only team to overpay for Prescott. He’s an average, at best, QB.

    • earmbrister

      Still wrong. He’s an above average QB and teams will gladly pay for that.

      • Polish Hammer

        He’s above average but not in the upper level of elite which is the price range he’s looking for. As somebody who dislikes Dallas I truly hope they screw this up and overpay him.

  11. LetGoOfMyLeg

    Do we need a poll?
    Release him
    Or
    Pay him 37 million – [franchise tag]
    Or
    Pay him whatever he demands.

    • They almost have to release him with these salary demands. How do you field a team with that many ridiculous contracts? With Elliot, Cooper, D. Lawrence, Z. Martin, etc. already making huge amounts of money, how do you fit another $40 mil for Dak in there and still have enough for the remaining 90% of your roster to put together any kind of decent team?

      I don’t care how good Dak thinks he is or how much he thinks he’s worth…it just doesn’t work within the framework of a salary cap. The Cowboys need to trade up and draft his replacement if they want to have any chance of competing. Signing Elliot and Cooper to their bloated contracts were their first two mistakes, but signing Dak for 40+ mil/year would be a deadly third strike.

  12. Inky

    I would tag him with the transition tag so we would see his true market value. If it’s too high get the two first round picks and select a QB for the future that would include 5 years at a low cap hit. Use all those other picks to shore up the defense and o line and have tons of cap money left to fill what’s left. Hitting on a QB is risky but if you do we would have a very young team for years to come and stay out of salary cap hell. Dak’s not worth 35 plus a year especially for only 4 years where the cap hit can’t be spread out.

    • CoachWe

      Does the transition tag force them to pay slated scale ($24 mil) or 120% of last salary, whichever is higher? Or, is that the exclusive tag?

  13. Inky

    Exclusive tag forces them to pay 37 million this year if a deal isn’t reached, fully guaranteed. Transition tag forces them to match any offer he may get from another team if they choose to. If they don’t match the signing team has to give up two first round picks to us to sign him. Now if no one offers him a deal I’m not sure what they would have to pay for the transition tag but it’s less than the exclusive tag. Plus negotiations would go from favoring Dak to the Cowboys. Personally I hope they transition him and he gets an offer so we get those picks.

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