The Dak Prescott contract situation is going to be front and center surrounding the Dallas Cowboys, starting later this week when the NFL franchise tag window opens up.
By now, it’s well known that Prescott played last season under the tag. If the Cowboys were to franchise him again this offseason, it would cost them a cool $37.7 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap.
Dallas has no reason to bite the bullet and franchise Prescott when the window opens up on Tuesday. In fact, the team has until March 9 to make that decision. Even then, owner Jerry Jones and Co. are seemingly hopeful that it won’t come to that.
Dak Prescott contract situation: Dallas Cowboys confident they can get something done
“Starting Tuesday, the Cowboys can put the franchise tag on Dak Prescott at a cost of $37.7 million, but that will not happen until March 9, the tag deadline,” ESPN’s Todd Archer noted on Monday. “Between Tuesday and March 9, the Cowboys hope to work out a long-term deal with Prescott. There have been discussions – if not actual negotiations – with Prescott’s rep. Without a long-term deal by March 9, the next deadline to watch is July 15, the final day the sides can reach an agreement or else Prescott has play the season on the tag.
Being hopeful and optimistic are two different things. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have been engaging in contract talks for the better half of the past 18 months. In reality, the two sides have never really come close to an agreement. Right now, Prescott and the Cowboys are said to be ways apart in talks.
Prescott, 27, played under a $31.4 million franchise tag in 2020. He was sidelined five games into the season with a devastating ankle injury that cost him the remainder of the campaign. At that point, the Cowboys kept the franchise tag on the table while Jerry Jones openly questioned Prescott’s play style.
Fast forward a few months, and Dak Prescott contract talks seem to be in a holding pattern. That could have to do with the uncertainty relating to the 2021 NFL salary cap figure due to the revenue decrease brought on by COVID-19.
Even then, the Cowboys really are not in a position to have Prescott count $37.7 million against the cap. They currently have an estimated $20.15 million to spend before said franchise tag figure kicks in.
A move of this ilk would force Dallas to gut its roster to an extent. That includes a potential release of starting linebacker Jaylon Smith and attempting to find a trade partner for Ezekiel Elliott.
What would a Dak Prescott contract extension look like?
Prior to the Pro Bowl quarterback suffering the above-mentioned ankle injury, the split between himself and Dallas was over the length of an extension. Prescott wanted a four-year deal so that he could hit free agency while the signal caller was still in his prime. Jones and Co. were lobbying for a five-year contract.
It stands to reason given Prescott’s injury that he might now be open to a five-year contract with more guaranteed cash. Whether the Cowboys are interested in that remains to be seen.
What we do know is that Prescott is looking at $40-plus million annually. The fully guaranteed money and partially guaranteed cash might be a larger sticking point.
Using Deshaun Watson as an example, he signed a four-year, $156 million extension with the Houston Texans last September before things spiraled out of control between the quarterback and his organization. Watson received $73.2 million fully guaranteed with a total of $110.72 partially guaranteed at signing.
If no extension, could the Dallas Cowboys trade Dak Prescott
We’re hearing a lot more this offseason compared to previous years when it comes to sign-and-trade possibilities. This could be an option for Dallas.
The Cowboys could hypothetically place the franchise tag on Prescott before the March 9 deadline, only to trade him shortly thereafter. Other teams are thinking about doing the same thing when it comes to big-name players set to hit NFL free agency next month.
This scenario would include the Cowboys receiving a healthy return in a trade while kicking the tires on veteran options to replace Prescott or using the No. 10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on an heir-apparent.
Either way, the Cowboys might be hopeful that they can get a Dak Prescott contract extension done here soon. In no way does that mean they are confident. It’s something to watch in Big D as the NFL offseason gets going big time.
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