The Cowboys began extension talks with Dak Prescott in mid-April 2019. Fifteen months later, they have four days to finalize a deal to avoid their quarterback playing the 2020 season on the franchise tag.
While the Cowboys are not worried, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes several league sources do not expect a deal to be finalized (video link). Prescott has signed his $31.4MM franchise tender, and the Cowboys are prepared (if necessary) for their fifth-year quarterback to play the season on the tag.
Prescott has held firm on his goal of a four-year deal, as opposed to the Cowboys’ five-year preference, and nothing has transpired on this front in months. The process is expected to go to the deadline, per Fowler. This reminds of Dallas’ standoff with Dez Bryant, which ended minutes before the 2015 July deadline. Only Prescott’s position brings higher stakes for the Cowboys.
The 27-year-old passer has aimed for a deal that exceeds Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-per-year pact. While Patrick Mahomes is now attached to a $45MM-AAV deal, the Chiefs quarterback’s 10-year agreement may not have too much bearing on Prescott’s situation because of his preference for a short-term deal. That stance will limit the Cowboys’ desire to up his price, and John Clayton of the Washington Post notes Jerry Jones would still like Prescott’s price to come in below the $35MM-AAV mark.
The Cowboys have signed several members of their current core to extensions over the past two years. Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Zack Martin all signed for more than four years. Their last known offer to Prescott was worth just more than $33MM annually, putting Prescott in the neighborhood of fellow 2016 draftees Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Prescott turned down a $33MM-per-year proposal last season.
Dallas managed to re-sign Cooper and add several defensive pieces this year, despite Prescott’s tag price going on its books in March. Prescott playing this season on the tag, however, would remind of Kirk Cousins‘ situation in Washington. The current Vikings quarterback played 2016 and ’17 on the tag before leaving Washington as a free agent in 2018. A second Prescott tag would cost the Cowboys $37.7MM next year, when the cap may either decline or remain at $198MM due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s imminent attendance impact. A third tag in 2022 would be at an untenable $54MM-plus.
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