Dallas Cowboys rumors: Key hurdle brings Dak Prescott’s extension talks to a standstill

Dak Prescott Cowboys
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys came into the offseason determined to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term contract extension. Now with the 2020 NFL Draft drawing closer, talks between Prescott and the Cowboys have reportedly hit a standstill.

After placing the exclusive franchise tag on him on March 16, the Cowboys re-engaged in contract discussions in late March. Both sides took time away from trying to negotiate an extension, but a resolution was expected that would have made him the highest-paid NFL player ever.

Now the COVID-19 pandemic has caused further complications for ongoing talks. Prescott hasn’t signed his franchise tender and while he could participate in the team’s virtual offseason program, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on SportsCenter that the star quarterback isn’t expected to. In part, because of disagreement over the length of the deal.

“The bottom line on the long-term deal (getting) done — the two sides have differing values. But I think the bigger issue might just be the years,” Adam Schefter said, via SportsCenter (H/T 247 Sports). “The Dallas Cowboys want Dak Prescott on a five-year-or-longer deal. Prescott wants four years. And there’s a difference on the years that has prevented this deal from getting done so far. I think that, to me, sounds like it’s the biggest obstacle — not the money, not the signing bonus, not the guarantees. It’s the years.”

The Cowboys have a history of signing their starters to deals that often exceed four years, spreading the money out more over the life of the contract and keeping them through their prime. However, Prescott wants a short-term deal, potentially even following in the footsteps of Kirk Cousins. A three-year deal would allow Prescott to enter free agency before he turns 30, giving him the chance to cash in with another record deal when the salary cap is even higher.

Currently, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is the highest-paid player in the NFL. His long-term deal averages $35 million per year and included $107 million guaranteed. Behind him, Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers are currently the third-highest paid quarterbacks ($33.5 million) in the NFL.

The Cowboys have at least secured Prescott for another season thanks to the exclusive franchise tag. But with the start of the NFL season uncertain and Prescott reportedly willing to take his time, it could be a while before both sides agree to a long-term deal.