At a time when some around the league thought that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ultimately would say “yes” to a huge pile of financial security at a time when he’s due to make only $2 million in salary, Prescott continues to hold firm.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Prescott is in no rush to get a deal with the Cowboys.
Between endorsement deals and insurance policies, Prescott will make plenty of money, even if he’s making only $2 million at a position that currently pays a maximum of $35 million per year. Schefter pegs the off-field number at $50 million, which apparently comes from the endorsement deals alone. (If so, some league insiders regard that as more than a little on the high side.) The value of the insurance would be much higher than $50 million; however, for anything less than a career-ending injury, collecting on the policy almost always entails a nasty, ugly legal fight.
It’s those earnings on the side that fuel the team’s argument that Dak should take less. He doesn’t get those same deals if he’s not the starting quarterback of America’s Team, and he surely knows it. But he, and his agents, believe it shouldn’t matter. The salary cap is the same for every team, and there’s no reason why one of the better quarterbacks in the game shouldn’t get compensated accordingly.
The biggest problem for Prescott, in our view, continues to be the fact that he fell to round four of the draft. Being on the books for only $2 million in the last year of his rookie deal makes it much harder for the Cowboys to give him a fair deal that doesn’t seem like a top-of-market package. If, for example, Prescott were to get right now the five-year, $27.5 million per year contract that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo signed after his rookie deal expired, the so-called new-money average would be $34 million, based on the $2 million Prescott is otherwise due to make in 2019.
Once Prescott’s rookie deal evaporates, he then can sign a deal like Garoppolo’s. By then, however, the new-money bar will be at $40 million or more, thanks to Patrick Mahomes. So while the Cowboys may be able to save some money by not doing the deal now, the piper eventually will have to be paid — and the price is going to keep going up and up and up.
Ultimately, it could mean that Prescott will be franchise-tagged in 2020, which would give him $25 million or more for one season, with a 20-percent raise looming in 2021 and a 44-percent bump over that in 2022. Maybe, given his other sources of financial security, he’ll play the Kirk Cousins game and go year to year.
Regardless of how it plays out, the Cowboys had better be ready to eventually pay a lot of money to Prescott, because he continues to stand firm on his position that he won’t be doing a Tom Brady-style team-friendly deal.