It’s one thing for the Cowboys to give quarterback Dak Prescott a second contract. It’s another for the Cowboys to give Prescott the second contract he wants.
The Cowboys may not be doing that. Appearing Monday on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said that Prescott’s next deal must be “team friendly,” via the Dallas Morning News.
Jones added that the Cowboys and Prescott have yet to begin negotiations.
“There’s two sides to this,” Jones said. “We’ve really never just gotten into the weeds in terms with Dak himself in terms of what his preference is. I know he’s focused on winning and really getting as many players as he can out there working so we can have a great team next year. . . . At the same time I’m sure it’ll be coming. There will be a point in time where we all get around and say, ‘Hey, let’s get this done by a certain time and put it behind us.'”
While the Cowboys haven’t engaged Prescott directly on this issue, he previously has made his views fairly clear. In February, Prescott said he expects the team to “pay what’s deserved,” and that he won’t be going the Tom Brady below-market route.
“Nobody’s wife makes as much money as his wife does either,” Prescott said at the time. “When Tom Brady isn’t the breadwinner in the home, then that’s a great problem to have. So, in that case, he can do that. He can do his contract however you want to do it.”
So how does Prescott want to do his? Much of it depends on how determined he is to take advantage of his leverage. Though he’ll make only $2 million this year, the Cowboys would face the first act of the franchise-tag dance in 2020, at a price that surely will exceed $25 million. Prescott would be entitled to a 20-percent bump in 2021 and, if franchise-tagged again in 2022, a whopping 44-percent hike.
The question, then, becomes what it would take to get Prescott to trade in the ability to go year-to-year, which would both increase his leverage and pump up his chances of eventually hitting the open market.
But then what? If Prescott were available to any team as an unrestricted free agent, what would he get? And would he make sufficiently more from a team other than the Cowboys to overcome the collateral benefits of being the team’s starting quarterback, which includes plenty of marketing dollars while playing and a free ticket to a broadcast booth after he retires?
However it plays out, the path won’t be known until more is known about whether Prescott will push for something that the Cowboys regard as team-unfriendly — and whether Prescott is willing to go the Kirk Cousins one-year-at-a-time route, if the Cowboys balk.