July 15 is the target for a long-term Dak Prescott deal, or not

Getty Images

Deadlines drive NFL business. For the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott, there’s only one deadline that matters: July 15.

That’s when the window closes on any franchise-tagged player signing a multi-year contract. During Friday’s #PFTPM, Cowboys COO, executive V.P., and director of player personnel Stephen Jones was asked whether it makes sense to watch and wait for something to happen, or not, on July 15.

“I think so,” Jones said. “I mean, at the end of the day I know everybody’s out there, ‘How have you not paid Dak?’ At the same time, we’ve tried to pay him, and he has to accept what we want to pay him. But the deal’s got to be right for Dak, it’s gotta be right for us. As you know, the salary cap makes this a zero-sum game for owners. This is not something where Jerry and myself are trying to save money so the Cowboys can make more money for the Jones family. We’re just trying to do our very best working with [coach] Mike [McCarthy], working with [V.P. of player personnel] Will McClay. Really divide up the pie in the best way possible to win a Super Bowl.”

The Cowboys are balancing Prescott’s demands against the realities of having enough cap space left to pay the rest of the players.

“There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, it decreases your chances to win,” Jones said. “We’re just trying to figure out the right fit. No one wants to sign Dak to a longer term deal more than Jerry and myself. We’re on the record time and time again on what we think of him as a leader. He has the ‘it’ factor. He’s a fierce competitor. He wants to win as well, and it’s just gotta be right for him and right for us. We’ll continue to work to a conclusion on that.”

Jones then was asked about whether the $31.4 million franchise tender for 2020 with the reality that the tender would spike to $37.68 million for 2021 (a two-year payout of more than $69 million) has become an impediment to striking a long-term deal. Jones didn’t bite.

“We’re only focused on getting a long-term deal on Dak,” Jones said. “We’re not focused on next year, the year after that. We’ll have the resources. We all know quarterback’s the most important position on this team. We won’t ever be in a position where we can’t tender a franchise offer. But our strict focus is on signing Dak to a long term deal.”

How about whether the team is more comfortable with the possibility of Dak staying away from training camp and the preseason now that Andy Dalton is on the roster? Strike two.

“Like I said only thing I can speak to right now — only thing I can speak to is that we’re trying to sign [Prescott] to a long-term deal,” Jones said. “He’s a competitor. He loves this football team. He knows that we’re trying to put a great football team together and we’re gonna focus on getting him signed.”

So there it is. Just like Dez Bryant in 2015, July 15 is the focal point for getting a long-term deal done. Or not.

The Cowboys want to get it done, but Prescott has leverage that no other player has had. He can make nearly $70 million over the next two seasons and then most likely force his way to the open market, given that the franchise tender for 2022 would be a whopping $54.25 million.

That’s the calculation the Cowboys are facing. And Dak has done nothing to suggest that he will do anything other than drive the hardest possible bargain, based on his circumstances. Otherwise, he’d already have a long-term deal.

46 responses to “July 15 is the target for a long-term Dak Prescott deal, or not

  1. 31 million seems like an awful lot of money to pay a guy to send in the plays to Andy Dalton. Although I suppose once you add in Daks value as the 3rd string qb and starting Pro Bowl waterboy maybe 31 million isnt that bad.

    Come on Jerry, give Dak his 40 million. The rest of the NFC East is counting on you.

    Dak Prescott – 2030 first ballot waterboy hall of famer!!!

  2. Just do the smart thing and rescind the tag. He’s not worth league minimum

  3. Dak is good, but he’s not Patrick Mahomes good. He’s not even Rodgers or Wilson good, so until he proves himself Dak shouldn’t be asking for that type of money.

  4. Let him play on that franchise deal. Prove it and get paid. Falter, and you’ll know you’re real value. Don’t let the team get held hostage by a great, but not elite take the whole team on your shoulders QB. Rooting he takes the next step, but you get paid for winning championships, not putting numbers up

  5. Jones’ comment about the percentage of cap given to qb can relate to success, or lack thereof, is valid. That statement, alone, negates any leverage you might think Dak has. Further, giving huge contracts like Dak wants has a definite negative effect on the other players; they are human, please remember. If “buddies”, or other valuable players are cut or traded, don’t think for a minute it is a non-factor. The onfield talent is of much value, but it is absolutely not all of the influence.

  6. stew48 says:
    May 10, 2020 at 11:00 am
    Jones’ comment about the percentage of cap given to qb can relate to success, or lack thereof, is valid. That statement, alone, negates any leverage you might think Dak has. Further, giving huge contracts like Dak wants has a definite negative effect on the other players; they are human, please remember. If “buddies”, or other valuable players are cut or traded, don’t think for a minute it is a non-factor. The onfield talent is of much value, but it is absolutely not all of the influence.


    Same argument could’ve and should’ve been made for Zeke but Zeke wanted to be highest paid RB and got it.

  7. Last season should have told Jones all he needs to know about Dak. The fact that he signed Dalton, a better QB, might be proof. The rest of the NFCE hopes Jones pulls a Jerrah and signs Dak to a big money contract and eliminates the Cowboys as serious contenders for the duration.

  8. No problems with Dak as a person, but he has proven what he is – a 4th round talent playing behind one of the best O-lines in the league.

    He’s done a great job at making the best, but his talent isn’t top 5.

  9. But it is about the money. Few to no fans in the building, no cars in the parking lot and no revenue from vending.

  10. Brady did team friendly deals for years and while it surely wasn’t the biggest factor in all those championships it certainly had to help.

    Dak needs to consider that if his goal is winning now or maximizing his bank..

  11. The only leverage Prescott has is it’s difficult to find acceptable starting QBs.
    But price does matter. All teams would like a Pat Mahomes, but what if one was available for $60mil/year? Then you would say no.
    I can see overpaying a little at QB because of the difficulty of finding a new QB.
    It depends on how much of an overpay.
    Having Andy Dalton dirt cheap for a year saves a lot of money that can be used to pay your oline their bonuses.

  12. Paying a stat stuffer who regularly piles up garbage time yards and touchdowns and has a losing record against winning teams is a proven losing plan. See Matt Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, etc.

  13. Dak failed to take his team to the playoffs against the worst division in football. Season on the line. 9 points against a very average Eagles defense. Cowboys have all this talent but don’t win. What’s up with that?

  14. If he were a free agent who else but the cowboys would sign Prescott as their starter.

    then who would sign him at the money he expects.

    I don’t know as starter-i really don’t know at the money he wants

  15. Dak’s leverage diminishes greatly if the Cowboys were willing to rescind the tag. No team would pay Dak anywhere close to what the Cowboys have offered. If I were the Cowboys, I’d negotiate with Cam Newton on an incentive-laden deal. If Cam is willing to sign, offer Dak a take it or leave final offer. If he says no, let your QB be the winner of a Dalton/Newton battle.

  16. @eagleswin

    Zeke worked for his paycheck and has carried the offense with the line. What has wentz done again?

  17. Enough with the “Brady took less”-bs. He is currently the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL, slightly ahead of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, guys who got/get a lot of grief for taking up too much money. Yes Brady left a little money on the table here and there, and his trust in the GM/owner allowed them to play all sorts of cap games with his contracts. He made the money though, so just stop with all that

  18. Analytics also show when Jerry Jones is your General Manager, your chances of winning decrease.

  19. Let’s not forget that he has turned down a five year deal worth $33 million a season with $105 million guaranteed. That puts him top five in average and total guarantees. That is more than fair. If he wants more continue to franchise him and look for his replacement down the road. Dak’s taking a big risk too. One bad hit and your career is over. If he has another 8-8 season that drives down his leverage. It would be best for both sides of he would just sign the deal that’s on the table.

  20. Dak went into Philly with the division title on the line and LOST to an Eagles roster filled with practice squad guys, hasbeens or never weres.

    If Dak cant beat an XFL team, how is he worth 35-40 million?

    Dallas has (just ask Jerry) the best offensive line, the best running back, the best wide receiver and the best quarterback in the entire NFL and LOST a must win game.

    Better off paying Dalton and Sham Newton to battle it out for the starting qb spot than pay Take the Sack Dak what he wants.

    2 starting calibre qbs or one 8-8 choker?

    Im guessing Jerrah caves and gives Sak Prescott his bag of loot then watch the Boys continue to wallow in mediocrity.

  21. zac0913 says:
    May 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Zeke worked for his paycheck and has carried the offense with the line. What has wentz done again?

    Good point, So why do the Cowboys need a 31 mil/year Average QB to hand the ball off to Zeke
    when Dalton can do it at 7 mil/year ?

  22. A big factor to be considered in Dak’s contract negotiations is that the next QB for Dallas is going to take a physical beating, given the perennial back problems plaguing the Oline’s Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, and the retirement of Travis Frederick. No scheme can offset a defensive line’s push up the middle on the QB when the above three former Oline pro bowlers for Dallas are either missing or hobbled. In the total absence of a fair collective bargaining agreement which allows a player to move freely when his contract ends, the Dallas front office has obviously signaled its media people to put the onus on Dak for not signing a hometown discount deal and, thereby, the Dallas front office avoids having to explain why replacements for Smith, Martin, and Frederick were not on last year’s roster while Dak was only being paid a rookie contract salary.

  23. I honestly don’t think that the Cowboys should cave to Dak. If Dak holds out for top QB contract, I withdraw the tag, offer half the current $ to Cam & let him compete with Dalton for starting position. Dak will Ultimately have to go somewhere like NE for very little comparable dollars. His days as a starter in the NFL would be in jeopardy. He will Likely never approach the kind of offer he currently has in front of him, ever again.

  24. Maybe the Joneses don’t notice goings-on in the AFC. But you have to think Tannehill on the Titans is about comparable to what Andy Dalton could do with the Cowboys roster. And if Tannehill had started from week one the Titans might have been playing the AFC CG at home. Tannehill took $29mill avg to stay where he is successful. Dak would be wise to do the same. But all signs point to Dak not being wise, so it won’t happen.

  25. I have a suspicion the Dalton signing has way more to do with the big picture than people realize, Prescott had the luxury of a elite offensive line and running game to only be 8-8 last year, that loss to to a crippled Philly should have opened some eyes inside the building, it sure opened mine..

    He is not top 5 and maybe not even top 10

  26. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:
    May 10, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Just pay the man.


    If Zak worked in the fast food industry he would get what get what he is worth, minimum wage. He is nobody special. 1 playoff win, is is not a god. Keep Dalton, sack Zak.

  27. Dak doesn’t need the money – Zeke is hosting next year’s Coronavirus party.

  28. Not top 10, but offered money like he’s top 5 or so and wants to be paid as the highest. Crazy for asking, crazy if he gets it.

  29. The Cowboys should let Dak test the market. QBs signed after March 01 have been getting very little.

  30. @justwondering
    Frederick is gone but Tyron Smith is still an All-Pro level left tackle that’s under 30. Zack Martin is one of the top two guards in the NFL. You’re also forgetting La’ael Collin’s who became a top 40 lineman (not just tackle) last year according to PFF. Conner, and McGovern are emerging talents taken in the top 3 rounds of the draft and quality veterans like Joe Looney that they have spent money on. If there’s one area Dallas hasn’t neglected it’s the offensive line. It’s also the position they historically hit on the most like Pittsburgh and wide receivers. So I’m not sure where you’re going with that comment

  31. This guy has won all of one playoff game his entire career. If the end result is not making the playoffs or losing in the first round, Andy Dalton can do that for you for $30 million less.

  32. There are two arguments for paying top money to Prescott: Quality and/or leverage.

    The only leverage he had is that the Cowboys had no other viable starter, and no plausible way to get one. Now they do. So no leverage.

    Quality: The “hidden” stat of hardly beating anyone with a winning record looms. Dak went 8-8 and wheezed out against a hobbled Eagles team with the playoffs on the line. And now he’s asking for more money than several SB-winning QBs, more money than Tannehill (who just finished a season by beating the Ravens in the playoffs and making it to the conference championship).

    The Cowboys have a “phony star” problem. They overpay guys who put up some flashy numbers but who always come up small when it counts. Elliott and Prescott are both those kinds of guys. If Jones wants to get over the hump, it isn’t going to happen with these guys.

    The Cowboys need better play. Players don’t play better when they get paid more. The reason to overpay is to keep someone whose current play is too valuable to lose, not to create better results than you’ve been getting.

  33. Should have used the non exclusive tag.Let the league set the value for a QB that can’t win the worst division in football. Maybe he won’t be so full of himself when nobody will pay him in excess of $35,000,000 a year and give up 2 #1’s. Or better yet somebody will be stupid enough and we will be better off with Dalton and 2 cheap elite players for 5 years. But Jerry’s big mouth always overwhelms him and he can’t keep gushing about how much he loves him some Dak. No wonder he has such a high opinion of himself. Sign him for 4-5 years and Cowboys will be right where they are now. All hat and no cattle…

  34. Did Peter King bring all the popup’s all over the place with him from his Sports Illustrated gig?

  35. Jerry wrongly thought Zeke was the key to a Super Bowl so he over paid him, and didn’t even make the play offs. Has he learned from this with Prescott?

  36. If the Cowboys pull the Franchise tag, which team would pay him 30M+ per year?

  37. Why are there so many posts about an average QB on an average team that hasn’t won a conference championship or been to a Super Bowl in 25 years?!

  38. Would it be possible for the joneses to shut their yaps about this contract until its signed already? These fools have been babbling about this on their radio show for over a year now. If tjey had any stones at all they would go on their show and announce andy dalton as the starter…..

  39. It’s time the league consider making it possible for each team to declare one contract per team that doesn’t count against the cap. Something that allows each team to reach as high as they believe is reasonable to keep one player under contract without impacting their ability to pay the rest of the team.

    Whether it be their QB or another player it’s up to them. But ultimately it should come with some kind of restriction that would make each team be VERY careful how they used the “rule”. Maybe it can only be guaranteed 100% so they’d only be willing to dish it out on short term contracts of 2 or 3 years max. Or maybe the opposite, none of it can be guaranteed such that the player assumes the risk of betting on themselves for 3 to 5 years while the team could sign them for some huge amount that they could get out of 2+ years down the road if the player doesn’t perform.

    I don’t know what would work best, but as long as the NFL continues to have the lowest overall contract values of the major sports, the players that can leverage the big money are going to do that, regardless of how much it may hurt their teams chances of winning a super bowl. Until something is done most Super Bowls will continue be won by teams that have QB’s still on their rookie deals or ones willing to take smaller contracts. Just look at the recent past. How many teams with 2nd contract or later QB’s have won? TB12 and who else? Oh yeah Manning. Other than that it’s all young guys.

  40. This idea has some merit as long as the designated player is from their team.No free agents. Otherwise the deep pocket teams will have a big advantage. Or more correctly the teams with owners who want to win as opposed to just wanting to maximize profits since all NFL owners have deep pockets except maybe the Las Vegas guy with the bad haircut…

  41. Stephen jones is getting dangerously close to being more obnoxious than his old man…..

  42. On no other team could Prescott make anywhere near what he made in endorsement deals last year, reportedly around $50 million. He’s not hurting for money, and that’s only because he’s the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, for now.

    He was won one wild card playoff game, not a divisional or conference playoff game, certainly not a Super Bowl. But yet he wants to be paid like a top-tier quarterback? That doesn’t make any sense.

    Dallas made him a fair offer on a long term deal, roughly what he would be paid under the franchise tag. He turned it down. I think he’s getting bad advice from his agent, but it could be that he’s just stupid or greedy.

    He wants to be paid like a top-tier quarterback? Then win a meaningful game, for crying out loud. Putting up stats in garbage time while losing a winnable game, with the division title on the line, doesn’t count.

    Going 8-8, missing the playoffs, doesn’t count either. But then last season may have been on the coaching and play calling. Regardless, Prescott did not lift up his team to victory, as other quarterbacks throughout history have.

    Aikman had to win a Super Bowl before he got a $50 million contract. Staubach never got paid anywhere near that much, but when he took over the team he led the Cowboys to more playoff victories, more conference championships, and won two Super Bowls.

    Those are the last two quarterbacks who advanced the Cowboys beyond the divisional round and won. Prescott is nowhere near their league.

    Meanwhile, there’s a whole new coaching staff in Dallas, except at offensive coordinator and a few position coaches. And Prescott is threatening to hold out of OTAs, training camp, assuming there is one, because he wants to be paid like a Super Bowl MVP?

    It’s insane, beyond stupid. He needs to get with the team, prove to the players that he can lead them to victory. But he doesn’t want to do that, which says a lot about his character as a quarterback and a leader. He just wants to be the highest paid quarterback in the league, even though he has never won anything significant.

    It’s a sad story. But the Jones’s will probably cave and doom the team to franchise hell.

  43. I fail to see what leverage Dakota has. The Dallas football team has a spare tire to put on the bus of disappointment. I don’t recall Dakota’s team winning all that much last year as he decided to throw rather than to run. My guess we’ll see more Lame from him and that will increase his chances of being a former QB due to injury. Had Dakota been all that and a bag of chips last year, he’d not have any problem extorting dollars from this team. But he cannot overcome the inertia of this team being a gutless band of fools who aren’t ready for prime time.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.