Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott Extension Talks Hit Impasse; Latest On Amari Cooper

The pendulum in the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott negotiations continues to swing. A week after we heard that an extension for Prescott was “imminent,” negotiations have again reached a bit of an impasse, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

RapSheet suggests that the length of the deal may be the holdup. It seems that the Cowboys want to give Prescott an extension of at least five years, just as they have with their recent significant signees. But Prescott’s direct market comps, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, just inked four-year extensions with their respective clubs, and Prescott is likely eyeing a shorter-term deal so that he can cash in a second time a year sooner.

Prescott has previously indicated that he is not worried about playing while negotiations are ongoing, and his Week 1 performance only boosted his value. Rapoport said, “[i]t doesn’t seem like things will happen for the foreseeable future. Obviously that could change but that is the read right now.”

As for wide receiver Amari Cooper, we last heard that he and the Cowboys may be in something of a stalemate. Cooper’s patient approach has allowed him to watch the wide receiver market continue to soar, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com writes that the 2015 first-rounder will continue to be patient. He is eligible for free agency in March, and while he would like to remain in Dallas, Schefter says there is no guarantee he re-ups before testing the open market.

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Jerry Jones Says Dak Prescott Extension Is ‘Imminent’

Everything continues to point toward Dak Prescott getting his long-awaited extension from the Cowboys any day now. Speaking to the media after Dallas’ season-opening win over the Giants, owner Jerry Jones hinted that an agreement is right around the corner.

Jones said after the game that an extension is “imminent,” according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. “What’s imminent? Well, days. Days. Or something like that.” In our most recent update earlier this morning, Prescott insisted he wasn’t concerned about talks and everything seemed to be progressing nicely. Jones’ comments today are the latest indicator of that. Prescott had one of the best games of his career against New York, throwing for 405 yards on only 32 attempts while tossing four touchdowns.

Performances like that are sure to embolden Prescott’s representatives, who are likely seeking record money. Jared Goff just got the largest guarantee in NFL history from the Rams, and Prescott could be seeking to eclipse that. The Mississippi State product is set to be a free agent at the end of the year, but there hasn’t ever been much panic since the Cowboys could control him through the franchise tag if worst came to worst.

Dallas has been locking up players left and right, and Prescott could be the final domino to fall this season if talks continue to stay stalled between the team and Amari Cooper. If Prescott is going to keep playing like he did in Week 1, it’s definitely in Jones’ best interest to get something done quickly before the price gets even higher.

Latest On Negotiations Between Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are not expected to have a deal completed before the team plays its week 1 game against the Giants later today.

Prescott isn’t rushing to sign a new contract, as he’ll instead wait to receive what he deems as a fair one. The quarterback isn’t too worried about the potential risk for injury, as he has loss of value and disability insurance policies that are valued at over $50MM, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Prescott also has several multi-year endorsements.

“Obviously I want to see it done,” Prescott previously said. “To put a time frame on it, I think I’ve said this before, I’m not going to do that. At this point my focus is all on the Giants and the Giants defense and what this team needs to do to win the game. And next week it will roll to the next opponent. I don’t want to blur my mind or distract myself any with thinking about those talks or thinking about what’s going on when I’ve got enough on my plate to handle. So I’m just focused on the Giants and I’ve got people to take care of [the contract].”

The team would like to get a deal done before the game, though they’ll continue negotiations through the season if they can’t accomplish that goal. Should Prescott and the Cowboys not come to a deal before the offseason, the franchise tag would be a possibility for the quarterback. The two sides are undergoing negotiations this morning, as David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Cowboys To Continue Dak Prescott Talks Into Season

The Cowboys are holding out hope for a weekend extension agreement with Dak Prescott. It would be perhaps the biggest step in this franchise’s complex offseason, which has now included deals with DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, La’el Collins and Ezekiel Elliott.

The team would like a Dak deal to be finalized by their Week 1 afternoon kickoff, but Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan the sides will continue negotiations into the season if no deal can be struck before Dallas’ Sunday opener.

I’d say the dialogue has been good, and we’re still holding out hope we can figure out how to come up with a deal by the game on Sunday,” Jones said (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams). “We’re open for business. I know sometimes the players don’t care to (negotiate in-season). But we can obviously juggle that and do that. We would be fine with doing that. It’s really up to the player and their representatives to determine what their deadlines are and their timelines.”

Smith, Collins and Elliott followed the Cowboys’ trend of summer extensions. Dallas bastions Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Sean Lee signed their deals in July or August. Zack Martin signed his last June. The organization is willing to make an exception for Prescott, who still wants a near-future extension.

Prescott and Amari Cooper represent the holdups in this productive Cowboys negotiation stretch, and the Cooper talks have not progressed. The fifth-year wideout said he would not mind playing out a contract year. Multiple reports pegged Prescott as turning down a $30MM-plus-AAV offer, illustrating the fourth-year passer’s refusal to rush into an agreement. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff‘s agreements will only stand to raise Prescott’s asking price. Not much has come out on a possible Byron Jones extension. But the Cowboys will clearly keep working on Prescott’s deal, even after their Week 1 game against the Giants — if need be.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Elliott, Prescott, Cooper

With the Cowboys having extended running back Ezekiel Elliott, focus now turns to quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout Amari Cooper. The Cowboys are hopeful that they can complete deals by Sunday’s season opener, although executive vice president Stephen Jones seemed a bit more cautious in his optimism.

“Don’t ever say never,” Jones said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “The season doesn’t start until Sunday. We still got three or four days here. Obviously we’ve ended up signing a few players we didn’t necessarily know we were going to sign, but at the same time, I certainly felt optimistic that we can get these guys. Whether it’s by the start of the season or if it goes over that, it does. That was our goal. Sometimes you don’t get it quite done on the exact timing that you had hoped, but obviously the ultimate goal is to get them signed.”

Prescott also expressed some hope that a deal would get done, but he also acknowledged that his entire focus is on this weekend’s contest against the Giants.

“Obviously I want to see it done,” Prescott said. “To put a time frame on it, I think I’ve said this before, I’m not going to do that. At this point my focus is all on the Giants and the Giants defense and what this team needs to do to win the game. And next week it will roll to the next opponent. I don’t want to blur my mind or distract myself any with thinking about those talks or thinking about what’s going on when I’ve got enough on my plate to handle. So I’m just focused on the Giants and I’ve got people to take care of [the contract].”

Let’s check out some more notes out of Dallas…

  • As David Moore of the Dallas News points out, the Cowboys have handed out more than $300MM ($185.5MM guaranteed) to four players over the past five months: Elliott, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and offensive lineman La’el Collins. Now, the front office has to fit Prescott and Cooper into their budget, but Moore sounds confident that the organization will get the duo signed thanks to Jerry Jones’ willingness to take risks. Ultimately, the owner doesn’t want a repeat of last season, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to optimize the 2019 squad.
  • The Cowboys were granted a roster exemption for Elliott that will expire on September 16th, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. This means the team doesn’t have to make room for the running back on the active roster until that date, although they can still carry only 46 players on game day.
  • Rapoport also tweets that the Cowboys aren’t concerned about Elliott’s preseason absence. The 24-year-old already has 868 career carries, an indicator that he’s plenty familiar with the offense. Ultimately, the team was confident that whenever the running back showed up, he’d be ready to go.
  • ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum observes (on Twitter) that the Cowboys only gave Elliott a $7.5MM signing bonus, which is a far cry from Todd Gurley‘s $21MM signing bonus. That means the rest of the running back’s $42.55MM can be voided if he’s hit with another suspension. Ultimately, the Cowboys got protection in case of any off-field issues, but they also are willing to pay Elliott as long as he stays out of trouble. Meanwhile, Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets that the Cowboys effectively gave Elliott a fully-guaranteed deal through four years, which is pretty unprecedented for the position.

Elliott Extension Now Cowboys’ Top Priority

Entering the offseason with several high-profile players eligible for extensions, the Cowboys still have their big three on offense attached to rookie deals. But Amari Cooper has voiced no issue with playing into a contract year, and Jerry Jones said he has no concern about Dak Prescott doing the same.

Jones said the Cowboys only have to have Ezekiel Elliott signed before Week 1, per Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Elliott has been a holdout since the Cowboys began training camp.

While Cooper has a guaranteed fifth-year option of $13.9MM, Prescott is only set to make $2MM this season. The fourth-year quarterback obviously stands to earn a lucrative contract at some point in the near future, but signing before the season would give him a chance to avoid having to play a fourth season on a Round 4 contract. Prescott, though, has been resolute during this lengthy negotiation. He voiced opposition to a potential team-friendly deal and is believed to have declined a $30MM-AAV proposal.

Elliott has two seasons left on his deal, but the high-volume back (NFL-most 1,003 touches since 2016, getting there in just 40 games) has prioritized an extension before an age-24 season that will also stand to feature an extensive workload. There has not been any recent movement between the Cowboys and the two-time rushing champion. Two weeks before Dallas’ opener, Elliott remains in Mexico training away from the team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

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NFC Notes: Cowboys, Compton, Fales

When announcing the new extension for linebacker Jaylon Smith at a press conference today, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sent a clear message to a few other high-profile players who are eligible for extensions. Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic, “[t]he team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual. The team takes precedent. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent. And I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way” (Twitter link).

Obviously, that statement suggests that Jones is going to hold firm on the offers that have been extended to Ezekiel ElliottDak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, and as we detailed earlier today, Smith’s extension looks relatively team-friendly. Jones did say that there is “enough pie left” to get deals done with all of them, though he did not have an update on negotiations with the trio.

Let’s check out more from the NFC:

  • Free agent linebacker Will Compton will work out for the Saints, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets. Compton, who played for the Redskins from 2013-17, was a full-time starter as recently as 2016. However, his 2017 campaign was marred by injury, and he played only 79 defensive snaps for the Titans last year in his first and only season in Tennessee. He would provide experienced LB depth in New Orleans, and he could also contribute on special teams.
  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press examines the Lions‘ backup QB situation, noting that presumptive QB2 Tom Savage missed his seventh straight practice on Tuesday (Savage is in the concussion protocol). That has meant more reps for David Fales and Josh Johnson, but Birkett says the Lions are unlikely to carry three QBs. So if Savage cannot be medically cleared by next Saturday, he could be cut. Fales looked sharp in the team’s last preseason game while Johnson struggled, so Fales may have a leg up if Savage can’t get healthy.
  • The 49ers fear that rookie wide receiver Shawn Poindexter suffered a torn ACL in Monday’s preseason win, as Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Poindexter, a UDFA from Arizona, appeared to be a prime practice squad candidate, and the club has already signed WR/KR Chris Thompson to take Poindexter’s place on the 90-man roster.

NFC East Notes: McCown, Treadwell, Cowboys

The Eagles made a surprising decision to sign Josh McCown out of retirement on Saturday, and the fact that they gave McCown a $2MM guarantee suggests that he is a lock to make the roster. Indeed, Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP reports that Philadelphia was trying to sign McCown even before presumptive QB2 Nate Sudfeld was sidelined with a wrist injury (Twitter link). Shorr-Parks notes in a separate tweet that HC Doug Pederson declined to say whether Sudfeld will remain the primary backup. Pederson said he will figure that out when Sudfeld heals.

Let’s round up a few more NFC East items:

  • Former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell is on the trade block, and Matt Lombardo of NJ.com believes the Giants could make a play for him. Treadwell played under New York head coach Pat Shurmur when the latter served as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, and Shurmur held the Ole Miss product in high regard not that long ago. Given the current state of the Giants’ WR depth chart, Lombardo suggests it would be reasonable for Big Blue to send a sixth- or seventh-round pick to Minnesota to see if a change of scenery can unlock some of Treadwell’s potential.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may not want to meet QB Dak Prescott‘s asking price — said to be at least $35MM per year — but he confirmed that Prescott’s eventual contract will put him in the top tier of quarterbacks. Jones said, “[a] lot of people question whether Dak is one of those guys that need to be in the top tier. I’ve never questioned that. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s in the top level of paid quarterbacks…Now, how do we make this all fit and what can we do to have the best team around him? That’s what we’re trying to work on” (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic).
  • Tony Pollard‘s performance in training camp and the preseason may be giving the Cowboys a little leverage in their contract talks with Ezekiel Elliott, and Jones said “Zeke who?” when asked if Pollard is becoming the team’s best negotiator with Elliott (Twitter link via Machota). Jones made it clear he was joking and said he believes Pollard will be an excellent complement to, and not a replacement for, Elliott (in case you missed it, we heard this morning that Elliott will not face criminal charges for the altercation between him and a security guard in May).
  • Despite spending the entire 2018 season out of football, Cowboys WR Devin Smith has a legitimate chance of cracking the team’s roster, as Machota tweets. Smith caught a TD pass in Dallas’ preseason contest on Saturday, and his play has been very strong over the past week. The former Jets second-rounder signed a reserve/futures deal with the Cowboys in January.

No Deadline For Cowboys Extension Targets

Multiple months into the Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper negotiations, and two-plus weeks into Ezekiel Elliott‘s holdout, not much of note has transpired. Jerry Jones said these deals are unlikely to be completed until the team returns from their camp home (Oxnard, Calif.) to Dallas, and the owner offered another timetable Tuesday night.

Jones acknowledged neither the team nor its high-profile extension candidates have created a Week 1 deadline to cut off negotiations (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ed Werder). Jones added one of Dallas’ re-up prospects could sign before the big three. Byron Jones and La’el Collins join Prescott and Cooper as contract-year players, with Jaylon Smith set for 2020 restricted free agency.

Elliott and Jones have not spoken during this holdout, the owner acknowledged (via Werder, on Twitter), adding fuel to the fire of the two-time rushing champion missing regular-season games. A report indicated Elliot will not play into the regular season on his current contract, which runs through 2020.

I’m not (concerned) in any way,” Jones said, via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “But I certainly know that we’re in a situation where it could be Week 1, of course; it could be Week 2. It could go into the season; that’s the facts. If it doesn’t, it’s probably no harm.”

While executive VP Stephen Jones has mentioned Byron Jones, Collins and Smith, Jerry Jones acknowledged what appears to be a loosely defined hierarchy among the Cowboys’ priorities here. The owner cited DeMarcus Ware‘s 2014 release, which led to two more Pro Bowl seasons in Denver, as an example of previous cap mismanagement allowing a star to depart — one he does not want to repeat amid this contract conundrum.

I’ve got to realize that I could let a DeMarcus Ware out of here because I don’t have enough money, because I paid it to too many others,” Jones said, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota (on Twitter). “That happened to me. I don’t want that to happen again. And we’ve got some top talent here.”

More variables exist in the Cowboys’ current negotiation matrix, but no resolutions are in sight for the defending NFC East champions.

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