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Troy Aikman weighs in on uncertain future for Dak Prescott with Dallas Cowboys

NFL schedule: Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Oct 11, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) calls a play in the second quarter against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Aikman understands the impact Dak Prescott has on the Dallas Cowboys. As the organization and its franchise quarterback begin another offseason with an uncertain future due to contract negotiations, the Cowboys’ Hall of Fame quarterback knows how things should go.

Aikman has never been afraid to go against Jerry Jones and to side with players. He called for an overhaul of the “dysfunctional Cowboys” in 2018, supported Ezekiel Elliott’s contract holdout in 2019 and blasted Jones for the team’s struggles that same year. After watching Prescott go from being a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a franchise quarterback for America’s Team, he is siding with the player again.

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Troy Aikman unsure if Dak Prescott will play for Dallas Cowboys after 2021 season

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, the three-time Super Bowl champion weighed in on how contract talks between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys might go this offseason. A year after encouraging the Cowboys to sign Prescott to a multi-year extension, fearing the tag would have damaging effects, Aikman emphasized how important Prescott should be to Dallas.

“They’re not going to get very far without a franchise quarterback. They’ve got that in Dak.’’

Troy Aikman told the Dallas Morning News

Aikman watched in Week 5 when Prescott went down with a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. It not only wiped out the team’s hopes of competing in 2020, but left many fans, players and icons in an emotional state. As one of the NFL’s top quarterback slowly rehabilitated his gruesome injury, the Cowboys struggled offensively and missed the playoffs in a historically bad NFC East.

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While Prescott only played five games on the $31 million franchise tag, his value skyrocketed. The 2021 franchise tender for Prescott will be $37 million, representing the baseline for any long-term contract negotiations. Plus, thanks to the deal Deshaun Watson signed last offseason, it will likely take a four-year deal worth more than $38 million annually. There is one thing Aikman and Jerry Jones can agree on, it will cost Dallas even more to sign their star this spring.

“I think the price tag went up,’’ Aikman said. “I think Dak’s leverage went up after this year.’’


Prescott and the Cowboys have a few weeks to discuss a long-term deal, but negotiations are going poorly. As a result, he is expected to be hit with the franchise tag for the second consecutive year, giving him $37.7 million fully guaranteed next season.

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It’s not a question of if he will be starting for the Cowboys in 2021; many believe that’s a foregone conclusion. If Dallas prevents him from hitting the open market once again and isn’t willing to cave by offering a four-year contract instead of a five-year pact, Aikman thinks this will be Prescott’s last season in Dallas.

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“I’d be really surprised if he’s playing under the franchise tag again this year. My guess is, if he is, that will be the last we see of Dak Prescott. I just can’t imagine that he’s going to feel really good giving an open negotiation to the Cowboys if he’s played two years under the franchise tag.’’

Troy Aikman on Future of Dak Prescott, via Dallas Morning News

If that’s the case, Dallas is in trouble. Placing the franchise tag on a quarterback in three consecutive years doesn’t happen. The extension deadline for players who receive the tag is in July. If Dak Prescott doesn’t have a deal signed by then, he’ll be the top NFL free agent in 2022 and will likely leave in an instant.