Although a report earlier this month indicated the Cowboys and Dak Prescott had not begun contract negotiations, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe notes conversations occurred “throughout the offseason.” The Cowboys restructured Prescott’s deal in March, creating 2023 cap space but setting up a showdown of sorts in 2024. Because of the redo, Prescott carries what would be a record-shattering $59.5MM cap hit for 2024, the final year of his contract. Prescott, 30, will almost definitely not play on that number; no one has ever played on a cap number north of $45MM.
Because the Cowboys tagged Dak in 2020 and procedurally tagged him in 2021, part of the long-running negotiations that finally produced a deal in March 2021, they do not have a 2025 tag at their disposal. The Cowboys want to gain contract clarity with Prescott, Howe notes (subscription required), with CeeDee Lamb extension-eligible and Micah Parsons eligible in January. But the eighth-year QB will hold tremendous leverage, particularly if he can complete a bounce-back season, once the sides get serious about an extension.
Here is more on the QB front:
- The Cardinals have used Josh Dobbs as their starting quarterback through two games, doing so despite the veteran reserve not being acquired until late August. Although Dobbs had a history with ex-Browns QBs coach-turned-Cardinals OC Drew Petzing, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot notes the Cards surprised the Browns with an “out of the blue” trade proposal for their then-backup. Cleveland, which had brought back Dobbs in March, decided the offer — a 2024 fifth-rounder for Dobbs and a 2024 seventh — was good enough to bump up rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson into the QB2 role behind Deshaun Watson.
- Dobbs was not the only QB who relocated via trade in August, as the 49ers-Cowboys Trey Lance swap outflanked the above-referenced move for headlines. The Ravens were mentioned as a Lance suitor, but Eric DeCosta said the team was not interested. “If somebody calls you and asks if you’re interested in a player and you say ‘No’ does that mean you’re interested in that player?” DeCosta said, via Ravens staff writer Kyle Phoenix Barber. The Ravens did pursue Baker Mayfield in March, when Lamar Jackson was on the franchise tag, but Tyler Huntley remains Jackson’s backup.
- Baltimore also rosters Josh Johnson…again. The journeyman (the term sells Johnson’s travels short) ventured to San Francisco last year following Jimmy Garoppolo‘s injury, being poached off Denver’s practice squad to become Brock Purdy‘s backup. Shortly after landing in the Bay Area, Johnson said (via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the Ravens attempted to sign him. This sequence transpired in December, when Jackson’s knee injury left Huntley and Anthony Brown as the Ravens’ QBs. Johnson, 37, is on stint No. 3 with the Ravens presently; he was with the team in 2016 and 2021.
- On the subject of the 2022 49ers, the team’s Lance hedge — via the Garoppolo contract reworking just before last season — came about because Garoppolo was still viewed as the better quarterback. The 49ers aimed for Lance — the unquestioned starter going into Week 1 — to pass the veteran after a season’s worth of growth, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. Lance suffered a fractured ankle in Week 2, requiring two surgeries, and is back on the developmental track in Dallas. The Cowboys have the former No. 3 overall pick stationed as their third-stringer.
- In 2021, the Lions were beginning another rebuild — one that soon involved a trade of Matthew Stafford. The 12-year Lions QB had requested a trade before the team made its GM hire, and The Athletic’s Colton Pouncey writes Detroit brass did not inform candidates of the request. The Lions had shot down Stafford trade talk in 2020, but after the veteran passer requested a move as the team reloaded around Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell in January 2021, the thinking changed. Holmes was unfazed by Stafford’s wish to be dealt, per Pouncey. After negotiating with several teams, the Lions collected two first-round picks, a third and current starter Jared Goff in that seminal swap with the Rams.