If Dak Prescott, Cowboys don’t agree on long-term contract, Dallas could need new QB in 2022?

By Jesse Reed
Nov 10, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) gives a signal in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott have not had any productive talks about a long-term contract in months.

It’s a situation that isn’t expected to change with days left until the July 15 deadline to sign a deal. And it could have significant long-term implications for the franchise.

Cowboys could need a new QB in 2022 without a long-term contract for Dak Prescott

Prescott has signed his 2020 franchise tender, which will pay him $31.4 million guaranteed. If he ends up signing a second franchise tag in 2021, which many expect could happen, he’d earn $37.7 million. If the Cowboys were forced to use the tag once more in 2022, the price tag would rise to $54 million.

Writing for the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, Clarence E. Hill Jr. laid out a potential doomsday scenario as it pertains to Prescott’s contract situation.

“If the sides are unable to get a deal done by Wednesday following more than a year of negotiations, why would there be hope they will come to terms following the 2020 season?

“And if the Cowboys are forced to tag him again in 2021, which could be crippling in a year when the salary cap will be compromised by the millions of losses in 2020 due to COVID-19, they could be looking for a new quarterback in 2022 as there is no way they could afford the cost of a third tag.”

This is obviously not an ideal situation. The Cowboys absolutely love Prescott. Owner Jerry Jones has compared the quarterback to his son, Stephen Jones, in terms of how he views him from a personal standpoint.

However, the record-breaking contract inked by Patrick Mahomes, combined with Prescott’s willingness and desire to set the market himself, could lead the two sides to a divorce.

NFL salary cap in 2021 will hurt the Cowboys

The NFL salary cap for the 2020 season is set at $198.2 million per team. We’ve seen the cap rise every year due to increased television revenue, and until March nobody expected that to change heading into the 2021 campaign.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that. It’s highly likely that many teams will be playing games in empty stadiums, if they play at all. The amount of revenue that the NFL is expected to lose is staggering.

Due to this unprecedented development, the NFL is expected to enact a flat salary cap in 2021, which would keep it at $198.2 million per team. This means that if Prescott inks a second franchise tender, earning $37.7 million, the Cowboys would have even less money to spend on other players.

A long-term contract would almost certainly give the ‘Boys a ton of wiggle room. Unfortunately, that appears to be nothing more than a dream at this point.