Dak Prescott should not “take less”

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For much of the past year, quarterback Dak Prescott has refused to bow to a campaign by the Cowboys to get him to take less. It has culminated most recently in Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith — who held out for two regular-season games in order to get paid in 1993 — joining the “Take Less” brigade.

Dak shouldn’t take less. And the fact that he has held firm in the face of the pressure for this long strongly suggests that he won’t take less.

Now that his rookie contract has expired, the Cowboys can sign him to a long-term deal, apply the non-exclusive franchise tag (roughly $27 million for 2020, guaranteeing a right to match and two first-round picks as compensation if they don’t), apply the exclusive franchise tag ($33.4 million for 2020, with no ability to talk to other teams), apply the transition tag (guaranteeing the Cowboys a right to match with no compensation), or let him hit the open market.

The Cowboys don’t want him to hit the open market, because they don’t want to compete with other teams for his services. Thus, the Cowboys undoubtedly will use a tag (most likely one of the two versions of the franchise tag) to keep Dak from the open market.

And that’s fine. They have the right to do that under the labor deal. But once they activate that process, Dak has rights, too.

He’s not under contract until he signs the tender. Thus, Dak has the right to stay away from all activities in the offseason, training camp, and preseason, waiting until only a few days before the start of the regular season to accept the one-year salary and earn every penny of it.

That’s his right. That’s his leverage. And he has that right and that leverage only after the Cowboys choose to apply the franchise tag.

Dak’s leverage also includes continuing to refuse to sign a long-term deal. If the Cowboys opt for the exclusive franchise tender, he can earn $33.4 million this year, $40 million next year, and then either $57 million in 2020 or getting a ticket to the open market.

Eventually, someone else will do what Kirk Cousins and Trumaine Johnson previously did, playing under the franchise tag on a year-to-year basis and then forcing their way to the market.

That’s every player’s right, and that’s his leverage if/when his team decides to restrict his movement with the franchise tag. And that’s why the franchise tag doesn’t need to be scrapped. Players have power, more power than most are willing to exercise.

And, inexplicably, fans continue to shrug at teams exercising their power under the CBA but to resent the players who do so. It makes no sense; the owners will hold equity in their franchises indefinitely, but the players have finite careers, limited opportunities to cash in, and no ownership stake.

Players like Dak have highly marketable skills, from which their teams greatly benefit. And because all teams have engineered a system that lets them squat on their best players, those best players on which the teams squat should be willing to use their power and leverage in order to get the best deals they can.

It’s not for the players to manage a team’s salary cap. It’s for the teams to manage their salary caps. It’s for the players to get paid, and it’s definitely not for them to “take less” in order to help a team that already has plenty of avenues for keeping spending under the maximum — including a bargain-basement rookie wage scale that gives teams the ability to grossly underpay for four years players like Dak, who went from fourth-round pick to 64-game starter.

With his four-year commitment to the team now completed, Dak has every right to bend the rules in his favor to get the most he can, in the same way the Cowboys bent the rules in their favor to get the most they could out of Dak. And if the Cowboys don’t like the power that Dak will have if the Cowboys use the franchise tag, then they shouldn’t use the franchise tag, let Dak see what else is out there, and make him an offer as good as better than what any other team would pay.

That’s where the earning power of being the Dallas quarterback truly matters. If a team like the Chargers or Colts or Titans or Buccaneers make him an offer based on the dynamics of the open market, Dak is smart enough to factor his marketing value if he stays in Dallas when comparing the Cowboys’ best offer to the best offers that come from other teams.

But the Cowboys don’t want it to come to that, and they’re planning to use their power under the CBA to keep that from happening. If they do, Dak has power, too. And if the Cowboys won’t be hesitating to use their power, Dak shouldn’t hesitate to use his, either.

74 responses to “Dak Prescott should not “take less”

  1. His representative better First review the proposed changes to the new CBA and ensure it isn’t more beneficial to get grandfathered into a new contract under current CBA. It better be a quick review….

  2. He hasn’t proved crap, I wouldn’t pay him that much of money. Instead, keep tagging him until he gives up.

  3. It continues to bother me that someone throwing a ball 800-ish times a year is worth $33 million or more per year. Thirty million dollars a year to throw a ball. They make more in two Sundays than the vast majority of Americans will make in their entire lives. And somehow the idea that they should *only* take $28 million is roundly rejected.

    Man, I wish I had to worry about how many millions of dollars I was going to end up with.

  4. He’s not good enough to carry the team. The more he takes, the less help they can put around him (which he needs). So he may have the right to get all he can, he may have the leverage, but it will doom the team to mediocrity for the duration.

  5. Even with the tag, $60M over two years for Dak is way too much. The assertion he should take less is absurd. I can’t see him getting what he wants. He’s nowhere near the top echelon of QBs. The Cowobys would be better off paying that money to TB and sending Dak packing. Then let’s see how much he gets as a free agent. My guess is he won’t get anywhere near what Dallas already offered him and he turned them down. Sure, he has all the leverage but he’s also overplaying his hand.

  6. I love the guys advocating for an American professional to abdicate his rights while taking the minimum market value for his services. That is patently un-American. For those stunned at the market value of an NFL franchise quarterback, not one nickel comes out of your pocket. And since they’re too professional to say it, kick rocks.

  7. Two thoughts;
    1)I wonder how many of those saying Dak (or any player) should take less would be ok with someone else telling them they should take less at whatever job they have…
    2)Does anyone ever suggest that owners take less to lower ticket prices for the working class fan?

  8. If Brady took every cent, Pats win 3 SBs not 6, and his payday sets the tone for other players. Want more proof? How many more titles did the Rodgers-era Packers, Brees-era Saints and Wilson-era Hawks win after QB mega-paydays? ZERO – and Dak hasn’t even won his first.

  9. As a non-Cowboys fan, I hope Dak gets paid as the top QB in salary. All guaranteed contract minimum 5 years.

  10. You speak as if you are talking about a top flight NFL QB. He has done nothing of consistent substance to say he (Dak) holds the cards. I for one would not be surprised if Dallas let him walk and they go after someone else, whether thru trade or FA.

  11. If I were Dallas I would let him test the market, I think he and his agent are overestimating his worth I can’t see any team willing to pay him what he and his agent is asking because Dak is just a little above average IMHO

  12. Emmitt was also coming off 1700 yards rushing and a super bowl. He had a leg to stand on. What does Dak have?

  13. I’m not saying Dak should take less. I’m saying the Cowboys should offer less. They sign him to something in the neighborhood of $30M+ they will be screwed until they can get out from under it.

  14. would be ok with someone else telling them they should take less at whatever job they have…

    There are some substantial differences

  15. I think Dak should do what he wants. Nothing wrong with pushing to maximize his earnings and nothing wrong with taking less if he thinks that is best.

  16. If they wanted a discount they should have gotten something done last offseason. Dak took the injury risk and played out his entire rookie deal which was way, WAY below market value for a starting QB. I don’t blame him at all for trying to get the most he can.

  17. $27 M under lower tag sets him up for life. So $ after that are gravy. Take “less” than what, exactly? Less than $40? If he gets $35, they are not going anywhere from 8-8. Let some other team overpay. Patriots are kind of good at that.

  18. gixrider wrote “1)I wonder how many of those saying Dak (or any player) should take less would be ok with someone else telling them they should take less at whatever job they have…”

    Well let me ask it this way. Would you take 10% less on your salary if that would allow the company you work for to thrive on economically for the next 10 years, which would ensure your employment there for those 10 years.

    Also as part of taking 10% less salary now, that would enable you to earn other money from other outside activities initiated by the company in which you could make up that other 10%.

    So in effect you make your money, the company makes money, and everybody remains in business for a good long while. That sounds like a win-win to me.

  19. Again, still looking For team to win it that has a massively priced QB. No one has shown yet that the math works. Getting All you think you are worth is the American way. But if you get every last dollar, team suffers. Jerry is right about that pie. If Dak gets $33, they are headed to below . 500. Only . 500 with him om cheap contract. Take $30+ away from rest of team and lucky if they can win even in their weak division.

  20. And going into a new offense with no training camp will do wonders for his value. The withholding services play never seems to take into account the downside long term. Worked so well for Bell, right? Guy will be out of league in 1-2 years.

  21. Who’s saying Dak should “take less”? I think people are saying Dak should take what he’s worth. He’s not an elite QB. Therefore, he shouldn’t be compensated like an elite QB.

  22. I was with you all the way, and then you hit me with “Dak is smart enough to factor his marketing value if he stays in Dallas…” and I had to get off the train, dude.

  23. At $30M+, we aren’t talking about Dak getting paid, we are talking about Dak’s great-grandkids getting paid. Not that there is anything wrong with that…

  24. “Would you take 10% less on your salary if that would allow the company you work for to thrive on economically for the next 10 years, which would ensure your employment there for those 10 years.”

    If the only way they can turn a profit is by cutting employee salaries, then there isn’t a bright future for you or them.

    That’s not how it would happen anyway. If a company is looking to lower costs They’d lose the high priced salaries and take employees willing to work under market value.

  25. Dak is a game manager, maybe slightly better. He’s not elite and unless Mike McCarthy can pull out some voodoo magic to make him elite, he’s kind of peaked already. You don’t pay over $33 million for a game manager.

  26. gixrider says:
    February 20, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    Two thoughts;
    1)I wonder how many of those saying Dak (or any player) should take less would be ok with someone else telling them they should take less at whatever job they have…
    2)Does anyone ever suggest that owners take less to lower ticket prices for the working class fan?

    50 32 Rate This
    —————–
    You do realize that the owners and players share revenue right? So if the owners cut prices of tickets, the players get less money too. Math is hard.

  27. I still cannot figure why, for the life of me, fans get upset over players making multiple millions of dollars per year. The players, NOT the billionaire owners are the ones who are most like most fans. These players have honed skills since childhood to become the players they are. They have worked for what they have, not inherited it. They are also the ones who risk injury for our entertainment, not the owners. Also remember, the owners have so much money that they can afford to pay their employees (these players) this much and still make money. Much more money than the players, by the way.

  28. This isn’t about Dak not getting paid. It is about how much he will get paid. He has already rejected 33 Million a year which would have put him just behind Russel Wilson and leave the new money garbage out of it because his deal is expired and it is all new money.
    I don’t think it’s wrong for the Cowboys to consider Daks deal in the context of Amari Cooper at 17+mill a year, Byron Jones at 15+ mill a year, maybe Robert Quinn at 11+mill a year and say yeah, taking a little less might help us retain this roster.
    But yes Dak has the right to test free agency. If there’s another team out there willing to pay him 33+ mill franchise him, take your two first round picks and move on.

  29. The evil ‘take less’ crowd is advocating a 2000% to 2500% raise for Dak Prescott.

    There is not a one of you who would quit your job and hold out for a 3000% raise instead.

  30. At some level, an 8-8 quarterback holding out like this is insulting.

    He hasn’t proven anything. He doesn’t have any hardware like the other overpaid QBs do. He’s shown no indication that he’s anything more than a sub-Danny White placeholder.

    If he doesn’t “take less”, he’ll be leading an 8-8 team the rest of his career. The likes of Wilson, Brees and Rodgers are better than he will ever be, and even they can’t get over the hump now that their contracts are bogging down their teams.

    The Cowboys fan base will not mourn if they lose him. They’re in reach of a good QB in this draft, and if they have a worse season ahead, they’ll be in even better position next year (hello Trevor Lawrence).

  31. bengalsfansarestupid says:
    February 20, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    I still cannot figure why, for the life of me, fans get upset over players making multiple millions of dollars per year. The players, NOT the billionaire owners are the ones who are most like most fans.

    ===============

    Most players make more in a year than an average family makes in a career. For $33 million per year to not be enough is criminal. It would take an average family 825 years to make that much money.

    The players and owners are far more alike than either are like the fans. They’re all 1% – don’t forget it.

  32. Who do people think he’s playing for, the Vikings? Only Vikings players want to take less to play. It’s a privilege.

  33. We all know it’s a QB league, maybe even more now than ever before. Since Dak Prescott has been in the league, only one QB has won more games. Tom Brady. There’s really no way around it. Obviously since Dak was a 4th round pick, nobody had him rated that high, so it’s hard for people to admit they were wrong. I also realize being the Cowboys QB sets you up for mega endorsements, and a career after your football days. Dak doesn’t need to be the highest paid player in the league, but he’s worth whatever the value is for the second winningest QB in the league.

  34. whostolemyxanax says:
    February 20, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    If they wanted a discount they should have gotten something done last offseason.

    ==================

    They offered him $33 million last offseason.

  35. These players still haven’t gotten the idea of money. Most QB contracts are only guaranteed a little here and there and not for injury. ( except Cousins). Wouldn’t you rather say 28/30 million guaranteed for five years over 35 million with say 2 yrs guaranteed?

    Then there us the Brady deal. He took below market value to go to NINE Superbowls. He’s still a wealthy man and he has 9 AFC Championship rings and 6 Superbowl rings and more money then his great grandchildren can spend.

  36. The Cowboys should have hammered out a contract extension last year instead of a CBA year. They got distracted by Zeke and now are about to have to pony up to Dak. The planets have shifted from then until now. if they could franchise him and trade him to Cincinnati it would be something they may consider. I don’t think the Bengals are going to stay at number 1 so may as well throw their hat in the ring.

  37. He should take less than the max so they can put good players around him. In return for that, Dak should be asking for a higher than usual % of the contract to be fully guaranteed at signing. Win-win. Something like 5 years/150 mil should get it done.

    Dak should be thinking about maximizing his career earnings, not necessarily his next contract’s value. Starting for Dallas for 15 years and winning a lot of games, maybe a Super Bowl or two will help him diversify and maximize his total earnings.

  38. inexplicably, fans continue to shrug at teams exercising their power under the CBA but to resent the players who do so. It makes no sense.

    ———–

    It makes perfect sense. As a fan, I’m far more interested in my team doing well than the players on it cashing in. In fact I’d prefer the players on my favorite team to ALL take less money to build the best team possible. Most fans think like GMs — build a good team by getting the best players at the lowest prices.

  39. You know Brees has never demanded to be one of the highest paid(and he doesn’t have a supermodel wife so what’s his excuse?) and he has always taken less than market value for his services and he’s still made well over $250mil in his career, what the hell is wrong with that kind of money?

    What exactly is it that you can you do with $350-400mil that you can’t do with well >$250mil?

    Come on, someone please tell me?

  40. Paying Dak over 20 million a year guarantees the cowboys dont win a super bowl. He cant win with the talent they have imagine how bad they get when they have to start cutting guys to pay him.

  41. elrock7 says: “Pro sports is circling the drain with out of control salaries, coupled with the salary cap.”
    ————————

    NONSENSE. The salary cap is simply a direct calculation based on total EARNED league revenue – in what world is that “out of control”??

    Bledsoe, Favre & Aikman each earned over 16.5% of the salary cap 25 years ago – which is EXACTLY the same percentage earned by top QBs today. Only 10-15 guys in the world are good as these quarterbacks, so yes, they’re worth $30m-$35m.

  42. gixrider says:
    February 20, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    Two thoughts;
    1)I wonder how many of those saying Dak (or any player) should take less would be ok with someone else telling them they should take less at whatever job they have…
    ————————————————————
    Imagine showing up to work and telling your boss that you’ll take less, so then they “only double” your salary. Yeah, taking less would hurt, ouch.

  43. He should give Andrew Luck a call, this is what happens when you take up an obscene amount of the cap and the team can’t get good protection

  44. Leverage? A 1/3 of the league is changing QB’s…here’s a list of probably available players I’d rather have than pay Dak 35mil+
    Tom Brady
    Phillip Rivers
    Matt Stafford
    Joe Burrow
    Tua T
    Justin Herbert
    Jake Fromme
    Teddy Bridgewater
    Taysom Hill
    Cam Newton
    Cassius Winston
    Marcus Mariota
    Nick Foles
    Ryan Tannehill
    Alex Smith
    Tony Romo
    Brett Favre
    Rookie A
    Rookie B
    Andy Dalton

    Cowboys will save money if he hits the open market. IMO.

  45. whenwilliteverend says:
    February 20, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Even with the tag, $60M over two years for Dak is way too much. The assertion he should take less is absurd. I can’t see him getting what he wants. He’s nowhere near the top echelon of QBs. The Cowobys would be better off paying that money to TB and sending Dak packing. Then let’s see how much he gets as a free agent. My guess is he won’t get anywhere near what Dallas already offered him and he turned them down. Sure, he has all the leverage but he’s also overplaying his hand.
    —————————

    Dak was 2nd in yards, 4th in TD Passes, had the most 40+ yard passing plays, and QB’d an offense that still had a nearly 1,400 yd rusher. Sure… he only had a 65% completion%, good enough for league average…

    And you want to replace him with old man Tom who had a 60% completion percentage while throwing dink and dunk routes (he had 1/3 the 40+ yd plays as Dak). Tom had 900 fewer yards than Dak, and let’s not forget that Dak is at least mobile while time is a washed up athlete.

    How has nobody noticed that Tom Brady hasn’t been the cause of the Patriot’s success for a few years now?

  46. “Dak’s our QB of the future yet we haven’t signed him nor will we if the price is way too high” Jerrah

  47. unleaded92 says:
    February 21, 2020 at 7:38 am

    Leverage? A 1/3 of the league is changing QB’s…here’s a list of probably available players I’d rather have than pay Dak 35mil+
    Tom Brady **** Not a FA yet ****
    Phillip Rivers **** he looked VERY done last season ****
    Matt Stafford **** Not going to be a FA ****
    Joe Burrow **** Cowboys don’t have the draft capital to get him ****
    Tua T **** Cowboys don’t have the draft capital to get him ****
    Justin Herbert **** Cowboys don’t have the draft capital to get him ****
    Jake Fromme **** have fun with this one… ****
    Teddy Bridgewater **** Not a FA yet ****
    Taysom Hill **** Poor man’s Lamar Jackson? not a fit for Cowboy’s lack of def ****
    Cam Newton **** When is the last time he threw a football? ****
    Cassius Winston **** Intersting, do you think he might be better at football than basketball? Will MSU let him play in the NFL? ****
    Marcus Mariota **** trade Dak for Mariota, who got beat out by Tannehill ****
    Nick Foles **** He was beat out by Minshew… come on… ****
    Ryan Tannehill **** Probably will resign ****
    Alex Smith **** You ain’t got no legs Lieutenant Dan! ****
    Tony Romo **** He will literally get paid Dak money to do TV ****
    Brett Favre **** He would likely face a suspension for his photography if he played again ****
    Andy Dalton **** Actually might be the best/likely option on the list… ****

    Cowboys will save money if he hits the open market. IMO.

    ———————————-

    Y’all paying Dak, just accept it.

  48. You have to imagine Carson Wentz is the baseline. I’d be surprised if Dak gets much more or less than him.

  49. cbalboavt says:
    February 21, 2020 at 11:51 am
    You have to imagine Carson Wentz is the baseline. I’d be surprised if Dak gets much more or less than him.
    ——–

    Why? Dak actually plays in games while Wentz is rehabbing.

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