Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott Expected To Participate In OTAs, Be Cleared For Training Camp

The second ankle surgery Dak Prescott underwent in December injected a bit of uncertainty into the Cowboys quarterback’s return timetable, but this year continues to unfold smoothly for the sixth-year veteran.

Two months after signing a monster extension, Prescott is expected to participate in the Cowboys’ OTA sessions, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. While Mike McCarthy said Prescott will likely be restricted to individual work during Dallas’ OTAs, the second-year coach expects his quarterback to be full go come training camp.

I have no reason not to think that,” McCarthy said of Prescott receiving full clearance by training camp, via Hill. “I think this week in Phase 2 (of the offseason program) will be a nice step in that direction. He’ll do most things. He’s really had some excellent workouts here in the last couple weeks. I’d see him doing most of the work.”

This certainly represents good news for a Cowboys team now fully committed to the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. The soon-to-be 28-year-old passer’s recovery timetable was to be between four and six months, and Hill notes the December cleanup procedure is not believed to have delayed the recovery process. The Cowboys begin Phase 2 of their offseason program Monday. Phase 3, the OTA portion, begins May 24.

The 2020 Cowboys certainly missed their starter during the final three quarters of the season, after Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle last October. From 2016-19, Dak did not miss a game and established himself as the Cowboys’ franchise QB. The Cowboys let Andy Dalton walk in free agency and did not replace him with a veteran.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Cowboys Release Tony Romo

Four years ago today, the Cowboys released longtime quarterback Tony Romo. At least, that’s how the official record reads. Romo — who had ceded the starting job to rookie Dak Prescott in 2016 — retired in order to begin his broadcasting career. 

We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family. Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field. He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves. He is a young man who is just getting started on a long journey in life. All the best my friend.”

Romo, who was on the verge of his 37th birthday, took over for Phil Simms at CBS. His health, he said, wouldn’t allow him to continue playing football. Still, even with his surgically-repaired back, the nature of his retirement led to lots of speculation. After the Cowboys granted his release, Romo was now free to sign with any team. At one point, he considered joining up with the Jets, but ultimately declined. Over the summer, Romo continued to leave the door open ever so slightly, saying that he wouldn’t rule out returning to the Cowboys in an emergency situation. That emergency call never came in though, and Romo has been in the booth ever since.

In effect, this all played out as a standard retirement. Romo didn’t leave the game exactly the way he wanted to, but he did complete a league-high 69.9% of his passes in 2014, his last full season. All in all, Romo collected four Pro Bowl nods over the course of his career in Dallas while earning upwards of $127MM in NFL earnings alone.

 

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Latest On Dak Prescott’s Cowboys Deal

The Cowboys used their franchise tag on Dak Prescott on Tuesday, but the move was procedural. Dallas did give Prescott the exclusive tag, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), for the second straight year. However, the two-year saga is still ending. Prescott agreed to a four-year, $160MM extension Monday night.

This move will further protect Prescott against a future tag down the line. A third tag would bump up the quarterback’s price to an astronomical place. A third tag in 2022 would have cost the Cowboys more than $54MM. They finalized a deal Monday, rather than have his second tag price — $37.7MM — on their books going into free agency.

Players have been tagged three times before; Hall of Fame tackle Walter Jones played three seasons on the tag in the 2000s. But the system now calls for a 44% raise from the previous year’s salary. Dak’s extension contains a no-tag provision, but that applies only to this through-2024 deal. Tuesday’s second tag would make the prospect of the Cowboys tagging Prescott at the end of another contract effectively a non-starter. This will give Dak more leverage over the course of his career.

After counting $22.2MM against Dallas’ 2021 cap, Prescott will see his cap numbers spike to $33.2MM in 2022, $44.2MM in 2023 and $47.2MM in ’24, per OverTheCap. Prescott’s 2021 and ’22 base salaries ($9MM and $20MM, respectively) are fully guaranteed, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports noting the well-compensated quarterback will receive his full $66MM signing bonus — an NFL-record figure — by the end of 2021 (Twitter link).

The guaranteed base salaries and full bonus payout being due this year will give Prescott $95MM guaranteed at signing, making for another NFL record. Matt Ryan‘s $94.5MM full guarantee in 2018 previously topped that list. While Prescott’s 2023 salary ($31MM) is guaranteed for injury only, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes it will shift to a full guarantee on the fifth day of the 2022 league year. TL;DR: Prescott is now a far richer man.

Prescott’s total guarantees ($126MM) fall short of Patrick Mahomes‘ ($141MM), and the Chiefs QB still leads the football world with his $45MM-per-year average. But Prescott’s contract has now set records for signing bonus, fully guaranteed money and Year 1 payment. While Mahomes is signed through 2030, Prescott will have the opportunity to cash in again — assuming his play level does not nosedive in the early 2020s — before turning 32.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

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Cowboys, Dak Prescott Talks Going Well?

We heard yesterday that Dak Prescott and the Cowboys had resumed negotiations on a long-term extension with the March 9th franchise tag deadline looming. Dallas fans will be happy to know that it sounds like those negotiations are going well.

Talks are “progressing” and have been “more productive than they have been” in previous months, sources tell Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News. Obviously if they can’t agree to a deal the Cowboys will tag Prescott and then they’ll have until July to work something out, but the word recently has been that Jerry Jones is hoping to wrap something up quicker than that to give the team clarity entering free agency.

Interestingly, Watkins also sheds a little more light on the second surgery Prescott had in December. That procedure was apparently to “clean up previous problems in the right ankle,” and wasn’t related to the devastating fracture he suffered in that same ankle back in Week 5.

Watkins notes that team officials say it was merely “to strengthen the ankle,” and wasn’t a setback or new injury. Additionally, he writes that Prescott is expected to be ready for training camp in July. In the report from yesterday, we heard that Prescott isn’t looking to top Patrick Mahomes, but is instead probably looking for something in the ballpark of $40MM annually.

Mahomes’ new deal gave him $45MM annually, and Deshaun Watson got around $39MM on his extension. No matter what, it looks like things are finally moving in the right direction after a long impasse.

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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.

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Cowboys Want To Extend Dak Prescott Before Franchise Tag Deadline

The Cowboys hope to get an extension with quarterback Dak Prescott hammered out before the March 9 deadline for applying the franchise tag, as Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com report. That suggests that there are no concerns over Prescott’s health, which is in keeping with the periodic updates that the team has provided over the past few months.

Of course, stories about negotiations between Dallas and Prescott are not unfamiliar to NFL fans. The two sides were said to be close to signing a long-term deal on multiple occasions in recent history, but they have not been able to strike an accord just yet. The most recent reports suggested that Prescott was prepared to accept a five-year contract worth $35MM per year before the July deadline for extending franchised players, but that the Cowboys would not agree to include a provision saying he could not be tagged at the expiration of that contract.

If that’s true, that would be an odd hill for Jerry Jones & Co. to die on, as it’s unlikely Prescott would have made it to the end of that contract without another renegotiation. Rival execs posit that Jones’ refusal to give in on that issue might have cost him roughly $40MM, as the quarterback market has only continued to boom, even in the midst of the pandemic. Prescott could now fetch a deal worth $42MM-$43MM per year, and the guarantee he gets now might be higher than it would have been in July.

But the Cowboys are in a bind, as they cannot let their 27-year-old franchise quarterback just walk away. Obviously, Prescott knows that, so it’s unclear if he will be willing to accept an early extension or if he would rather take negotiations down to the wire again this summer and to really force Dallas’ hand.

An extension before March 9 would certainly be in the Cowboys’ best interests, as they would otherwise have to tag Prescott again for a price of roughly $37.7MM and perhaps carry that full cap hit through free agency. A multi-year pact, on the other hand, would give them considerably more payroll flexibility in the coming months, which will be especially important given the expected salary cap decrease.

Pelissero and Rapoport also write that, in addition to the surgery that Prescott underwent in the immediate aftermath of the brutal ankle injury he suffered in October, the two-time Pro Bowler went under the knife again several months later. The second surgery was not directly related to the October procedure, but it did help to improve the structure and integrity of the ankle and further accelerated Prescott’s recovery. He is expected to be ready to return to the field well in advance of the 2021 regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Are “Not Nervous” To Re-Up Dak Prescott

The Cowboys haven’t seen much of Dak Prescott in 2020, but that won’t stop them from committing to him in 2021 and beyond. This week, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said that Prescott’s fractured/dislocated ankle isn’t what’s holding up their contract talks. 

Our issues in our negotiations with Dak have been that we’re wanting to be more committed, in terms of the (number of years),” said Jones (Twitter link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). “We’re not nervous to sign Dak. His makeup is all the right things. He’s a great leader. He’s a great player.”

Before the gruesome injury, Prescott had been set to accept the team’s offer of $35MM annually, but negotiations broke down over a disputed franchise tag provision. At one point, Prescott was expecting to land north of $40MM this offseason. Now, things are a bit more complicated. If the Cowboys are not ready to put that same offer on the table and iron out the contractual kinks, they could franchise tag him for a second straight year. However, that’d cost ’em $38MM, and Jones claims that the Cowboys want more years with Prescott than just one.

Things were looking rough for the Cowboys even prior to Prescott’s injury – they were 1-3, and the quarterback was more or less the only bright spot of the opening months. In the face of the Cowboys’ Swiss cheese D, Prescott posted at least 450 yards between Weeks 2-4.

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Extra Points: Watson, Tagovailoa, Prescott

The Houston Texans are at a crossroads as an organization. After surprisingly firing Bill O’Brien toward the beginning of the year they were left without a head coach and GM. Romeo Crennel and Jack Easterby have taken over those roles on an interim basis, but the franchise is currently in a bit of a rut and lacking direction. They’re also without a lot of draft picks, including their first-rounder next April, due to trades O’Brien made. As they look to dig themselves out of that mess, owner Cal McNair is apparently leaving no stone unturned.

McNair recently had dinner with quarterback Deshaun Watson, the one thing the team has going for them at the moment, and he picked his brain about what he’d like to see moving forward, McNair told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Schefter writes that “McNair wanted to hear Watson’s thoughts and opinions on who should be the next head coach.” Assuming Watson gets legit input, it would be relatively safe to assume the Texans will target an offensive mind. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy is sure to be a hot name, although there are plenty of other offensive minds as well.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Tua Tagovailoa‘s honeymoon as the Dolphins’ quarterback came to an end Sunday in a loss to the Broncos. Tagovailoa struggled mightily during the defeat, and was pulled for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Speaking after the game, head coach Brian Flores confirmed Tagovailoa did not have an injury and was benched for performance. That being said, Flores also wasted no time declaring that his rookie will be his starter next week, meaning we’ll have to wait again for our first dose of Fitzmagic. Tagovailoa was 11/20 for only 83 yards before getting pulled during the loss, which snapped Miami’s five-game winning streak. He’ll have a get-right spot against the Jets next week.
  • Fortunately, we’ve got another positive update to pass along on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Appearing on the radio Friday, team EVP Stephen Jones said he’s been getting “amazing reports” from doctors on Prescott’s status, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “Shouldn’t come as any surprise,” Jones said. “He does everything to the nines and the 10s and he just does it the very best. He’s been so diligent in his rehab and that shouldn’t surprise anybody. They said if anything he’s ahead of schedule and rolling. That should come as no surprise. So we expect him to have a full recovery.” Jones also reiterated that Prescott avoided any infections, which can sometimes occur with compound fractures. Everything continues to look good for Prescott’s chances of being ready for Week 1 of 2021.
  • Let’s wrap things up with some punter news. Veteran specialist Jon Ryan has been working out and has drawn interest from teams recently, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Ryan is 38 now but clearly has no plans of hanging up his cleats. Pelissero notes he led the CFL in gross punting average last season. He most notably spent ten years as the Seahawks’ punter from 2008-17.

Cowboys Notes: Prescott, McCarthy, Dalton

The Cowboys are in the midst of a truly disastrous campaign, entering their bye week at a pitiful 2-7. Just about everything that could’ve gone wrong has gone wrong, including a devastating injury to quarterback Dak Prescott. Team EVP Stephen Jones spoke to the media today, and fortunately he had some positive news about Prescott. Jones revealed the signal-caller had avoided any infections in his leg, a distinct and scary possibility with any compound fracture, like we saw with Alex Smith. Jones also declared that Prescott was “ahead of schedule” in his recovery.

That’s all fantastic news, and of course all of us here at PFR continue to hope that’s the case. As for the future, Jones was asked about the possibility of the Cowboys drafting one of this class’ top quarterbacks assuming Dallas has an early pick, which looks likely at this point. Jerry’s son shot down any such speculation, reiterating that “Dak’s our quarterback” and saying “we’re fired up about our future with Dak.” Prescott is of course set to be an unrestricted free agent, and his contract situation is arguably the biggest story of the rapidly approaching NFL offseason.

Here’s more from Dallas:

  • Speaking of shooting down speculation, Jones clearly wanted to tamp down any talk about Mike McCarthy’s job security. “Absolutely. Unequivocal,” Jones responded when asked whether McCarthy will definitely be back as the team’s head coach in 2021. When he was hired it would’ve been hard to imagine he could be a one and done, but there have already been reports of dysfunction in the locker room and McCarthy potentially losing the team. The Jones family has been steadfast in their commitment to him however, and this is about as firm as one can get.
  • Former AAF star Garrett Gilbert came off the bench as the Cowboys’ fourth starter at quarterback this season and almost led them to an improbable upset over the Steelers Sunday, but it doesn’t sound like he’s on the verge of getting the full-time starting job. “When he’s cleared, we fully expect him to step in as our starter,” Jones said of Andy Dalton, who has been dealing with a concussion as well as COVID-19. Dalton struggled mightily through one and a half games before getting hurt, and since the team has no real long-term commitment to him it wouldn’t be surprising if they went back to Gilbert before too long if Dalton plays poorly again out of the bye. Gilbert didn’t exactly light it up, but he moved the offense competently against one of the best defenses in the league. For his part, Jones insisted the team still feels like they’ve got a shot to win the lowly NFC East.