Dak Prescott

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

East Notes: Cowboys, Prescott, Jets, Gase

Dak Prescott is obviously out for the season with his brutal ankle injury, and speculation immediately turned to his future with the Cowboys due to the fact that he’s set to be a free agent at the end of the year. Prescott and the front office have been in a stalemate over his contract for a while, and the injury only further complicates things. Despite the lack of commitment, team VP Stephen Jones emphatically shot down any talk of parting ways during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He’s our future. He’s special. If anyone can overcome anything, it would be Dak,” Jerry’s son said when asked if anything had changed in regard to Prescott being their quarterback of the future. Of course there’s not much else Jones could say the day after such a serious injury, but the strength of the assertion is still notable. The Cowboys certainly don’t seem like they have any intention of letting Prescott leave town, although of course a lot could change between now and next season. Meanwhile Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that a source told him last night that Prescott’s surgery went “very well,” and was performed by the highly regarded foot and ankle doctor Gene Curry, who was brought in by the team’s orthopedist.

Here’s more from the league’s eastern divisions:

  • While things may seem pretty bleak for the Cowboys right now with their mounting injuries, we do have a dash of good news to pass along. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who broke his collarbone in the team’s opening loss to the Rams, appears to be nearing a return, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Vander Esch has apparently been ramping up his activity, and returned to padded practice late last week. The initial timeframe on his injury was 6-8 weeks, and Hill writes that head coach Mike McCarthy says he’s ahead of schedule. It sounds like Vander Esch has a chance to return for Dallas’ upcoming Monday Night Football game against the Cardinals, and their struggling defense could certainly use him.
  • The Jets are now 0-5 on the year, and after watching two of his fellow winless head coaches get canned, it looks like Adam Gase is considering major changes. At his presser Monday Gase said he has “toyed” with the idea of giving up play-calling responsibilities on offense, and that “everything is on the table at this point,” via Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link). Running backs coach Jim Bob Cooter, who was the Lions’ offensive coordinator recently, and OC Dowell Loggains would be the natural candidates to hand off to. Gase has always called the plays during his head coaching career, so this would be a huge change for him.
  • Jets pass-catchers have been dropping like flies this season, and another one is about to hit the shelf. Gase revealed during the same presser that Chris Hogan suffered a high ankle sprain on Sunday and will be out for a while, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets. The former Patriots deep threat is in his first season with New York and has been playing an increased role due to all the injuries. He’s had at least three catches in each of the past two weeks and had six for 75 yards back in Week 2. Fortunately for the Jets, they should be getting fellow receiver Breshad Perriman back soon from his own ankle injury.

Dak Prescott Carted Off With Ankle Injury

Well that was awful to see. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had to be carted off with an ankle injury in the third quarter of their game against the Giants. The team quickly announced that he had been transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Prescott will undergo surgery on the ankle tonight, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The specific injury is a right ankle compound fracture with dislocation, Jane Slate of NFL Network tweets.

It looked gruesome, as Prescott’s ankle appeared to snap and his foot was temporarily pointed in the wrong direction. It’s obviously impossible to say for sure right now, but it certainly looked like Prescott’s season could be over. If that’s the case, needless to say it’s a brutal blow to a Dallas team that had Super Bowl aspirations entering the year. It would be even more devastating for Prescott personally, since he’s currently without any long-term financial security.

Prescott of course has been locked in a stalemate with Cowboys management, and is set to become a free agent at the end of the year. In line for a massive extension, hopefully this doesn’t end up hurting his market value too much. Andy Dalton came on in relief, and it looks like he’ll be leading the offense moving forward.

Things were already off to a bad start for the Mike McCarthy era as the Cowboys limped out to a 1-3 record, and Prescott’s heroics were the only things keeping them in games. The defense had been a dumpster fire, but Prescott had at least 450 yards in each of their past three games.

Dallas is lucky to have a competent backup in Dalton who has loads of starting experience, but it’s hard to understate the impact of this loss. Prescott had never missed a game due to injury since taking over for Tony Romo, a streak that will certainly be snapped now.

If Prescott is indeed forced to miss the rest of the year, what the Cowboys do this offseason will be fascinating to watch. Owner Jerry Jones had already seemed reluctant to back up the brinks truck for his young signal-caller, and who knows how he’ll feel about it now.

We heard just a few weeks ago that Prescott had been set to accept the team’s offer of $35MM annually, but negotiations broke down over a disputed provision about franchise tags. In that same report we heard Prescott was expecting to land north of $40MM this offseason. If Dallas elects to franchise Prescott for the second consecutive year this spring, they’ll have to pay him around $38MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Franchise Tag Provision Held Up Dak Prescott Extension

After 18 months of Dak Prescott rumors, the Cowboys quarterback is tethered to his franchise tag salary until 2021. If/when the Cowboys revisit extension talks with their QB1, the negotiating starting point will certainly be different compared to where it was in 2019 and from the $35MM-per-year range in which it resided this summer.

Prescott was ready to accept Dallas’ $35MM-AAV offer in July, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports he wanted a provision in the deal that prevented the Cowboys from tagging him in the offseason after the contract expired. That proved to be a deal-breaker for Jerry Jones.

Jones said Tuesday, when asked about this sticking point, he views the tag as a valuable negotiating tool, per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). This is an interesting disagreement, since it refers to a hypothetical negotiation in 2025. Quarterbacks of Prescott’s caliber rarely play out their contracts, but Prescott held firm in 2019 and played out his rookie deal — which ended up raising his price.

A cross-section of NFL executives now view Prescott’s forthcoming price range between $42-$43MM per year, La Canfora adds. That is considerably higher than where it was in 2019, when Prescott became extension-eligible, and where it was in 2020. Even though a record cap reduction could take place next year, the quarterback market has now seen Patrick Mahomes sign for $45MM (over 10 years) and Deshaun Watson raise the conventional QB-contract price to $39MM a year. Lamar Jackson will also be eligible to sign a monster extension by the time the Cowboys can negotiate with Dak again.

The deal Prescott was ready to sign in mid-July included $110MM guaranteed and $70MM in the first two years. At the time, that would have placed Prescott in the top three among guarantees. Watson’s pact includes $111MM guaranteed. Should the Cowboys tag Prescott again in 2021, it would mean a $38MM cap hit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dak Prescott Expects To Remain With Cowboys Long-Term

After more than a year of rumors regarding an extension for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, the two sides were ultimately unable to come to terms prior to the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players. So Prescott will play out the 2020 season on the tag, and the rumor mill will start churning again in 2021.

However, both player and team have no doubt that Prescott will remain Dallas’ starting signal-caller for the foreseeable future. As Prescott said yesterday, he always dreamed of playing for the Cowboys and continues to expect that he will retire as a member of the team (video link via Jon Machota of The Athletic). “I believe something will get done,” he said (Twitter link via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News).

Likewise, team VP Stephen Jones said he is “more convinced than ever” that a long-term deal will come together (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News). Jones noted that the financial uncertainty created by the pandemic played a part in the failure to hammer out an extension, as did the length of the contract.

That last part is noteworthy. While we had heard for some time that the Cowboys were pushing for a five-year pact and Prescott was angling for a four-year term, a report surfaced immediately after the July 15 deadline suggesting that Prescott wanted to accept Dallas’ final offer, a five-year proposal featuring $110MM in guarantees and $70MM in cash flow over the first two seasons. But that report, from Jane Slater of NFL.com, was refuted by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, who said the two sides were never closer to an agreement than they were in September 2019.

Assuming the Cowboys and Prescott do get a deal done next year, Dallas brass may regret not finalizing matters last September. A deal then would not have cost Dallas more than $35MM in terms of AAV — and possibly a little less — but Prescott’s projected franchise tag number in 2021 sits at ~$38MM, so that will likely be the starting point for negotiations next year. Plus, while Prescott cannot make a case to land a deal like the one Patrick Mahomes just got from the Chiefs — which seems like an outlier in terms of structure anyway — a Deshaun Watson re-up with the Texans could push Prescott’s asking price even higher.

And with the salary cap likely to decrease in 2021, the Cowboys may have some tough choices to make with respect to the rest of their roster in order to keep Prescott in the fold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.