Cowboys Do Not Intend To Let Dak Prescott Reach Free Agency

More is coming out of the Cowboys-Dak Prescott situation. Although no offer has been made and no deal is imminent, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson supplies some information in line with the team’s recently expressed stance.

The Cowboys still want to complete an extension with Prescott this year, according to Anderson, who adds the team is not planning on letting the reigning MVP runner-up reach free agency. Some hurdles exist on the path toward a Prescott extension, but even though nothing is close presently, the Cowboys should still be considered more likely than not to aggressively pursue a third contract with their quarterback before the 2025 league year.

[RELATED: Cowboys, Dak Prescott Begin Extension Talks]

As he did during the first round of Prescott extension talks, Jerry Jones made a pitch for a team-friendly deal this week. Jones centered that short pitch on how a monster Dak re-up would affect the rest of the Cowboys’ roster, but while Patrick Mahomes has indeed sacrificed (in the form of a 10-year extension that goes through 2031), none of the QBs to agree on extensions since that July 2020 accord have followed his lead. While some upper-crust QBs did not hold out for player-friendly accords (Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford), the market is now beyond $50MM per year for high-end passers. Prescott’s age and production would have him in line for such a deal — perhaps close to $60MM per year — and he certainly has the ammo to land player-friendly terms again.

Entering the final season of a four-year, $160MM contract, Prescott cannot be franchise-tagged in 2025. A recent restructure only saved the Cowboys $4MM, still leaving Prescott with what would be a record-shattering cap number ($55.1MM). This is assuming the Browns restructure Deshaun Watson‘s deal, which calls for a $63.8MM hit this year. If Prescott leaves in free agency, the Cowboys would eat $40.1MM in dead money due to previous restructures that added void years through 2028.

Positional value also works in Prescott’s favor. Despite the Cowboys’ playoff stumbling blocks — which have been present since Super Bowl XXX — remaining during the Dak era, they employ a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who bounced back in a big way last season. The 30-year-old QB led the NFL with 36 TD passes in 2023; he has piloted the league’s top-ranked scoring offense in two of the past three years. The Cowboys, who have Trey Lance on an expiring contract, would not have a good way to replace their oft-maligned signal-caller were he to follow Kirk Cousins‘ path as a twice-tagged player to leave in free agency.

Deadlines have been semi-effective for the Cowboys and Prescott. The team could not get its QB to agree to a deal at the July 2020 franchise tag extension deadline but was able to circle back on an extension — after three offseasons’ worth of negotiations — before a second tag could hit the team’s payroll in March 2021. March 2025 would become the next true deadline, but another big season and the threat of hitting the market would only increase Prescott’s leverage. A deal earlier — one that would allow the Cowboys more breathing room compared to this $55.1MM cap number — would be in the team’s best interests, effectively creating an earlier deadline here.

Nothing is imminent, but given the numbers in play here, the topic of a Prescott extension will remain a key offseason talking point — just as it was from 2019-21 — during this NFL offseason.

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