One week left for Dak Prescott, Cowboys to do a long-term deal

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One week from today, the window closes on the ability of the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott to execute a long-term deal in 2020. Given that negotiations of this nature tend to accelerate as a deadline approaches, the time has come for the team and the player to move toward their respective bottom lines.

So what is the bottom line? As previously explained, the Cowboys need to make Prescott an offer that persuades him to give up the bird in the hand. That bird is big. Prescott gets $31.4 million this year, fully guaranteed. If tagged in 2021, he gets $37.68 million, fully guaranteed. That’s $69.08 million for two years.

Then comes 2022, when Dak gets a 20-percent bump if the Cowboys use the transition tag ($45.2 million) and a whopping 44-percent bump if the franchise tag is used a third time ($54.25 million). Alternatively, the open market will determine Dak’s value in 2022.

Whatever the Cowboys offer will be balanced against Prescott’s current rights — rights that flow directly from the team’s decision to keep him from becoming a free agent in March by applying the exclusive franchise tender.

When assessing the best offer from the team, nothing else matters. Other quarterback contracts don’t matter. It’s $69.08 million over two years plus either $45.2 million or $54.25 million for a third year or whatever he can get as a free agent. If tagged in 2022, that’s a three-year cash flow of $114.28 million or $123.33 million with, most likely, a trip to the open market in 2023.

It’s a tremendous amount of leverage, leverage that Dak has earned by rejecting prior offers, betting on himself, and finishing a fourth-round rookie deal that paid him a paltry $2 million in 2019.

How much leverage is it? Under the franchise-tag approach, Prescott will make nearly three times more than Patrick Mahomes in 2020. Through 2021, Prescott’s $69.08 million more than doubles Mahomes’ $33.625 million. Through 2022, Prescott’s $114.28 million (if transition tagged) or $123.33 million (if franchise tagged) dwarfs Mahomes’ $63.07 million.

Most assume when they see the “Half Billion Dollars!” headline that any other quarterback would pounce on the Mahomes offer. Even without a long-term deal, Prescott’s situation for the next three years is clearly better than Mahomes’ situation, if Prescott is willing to continue to carry the year-to-year injury risk. (He’s never missed a game, and he surely has a significant amount of disability insurance.)

Thus, while the Cowboys may be tempted to copy the Mahomes contract verbatim and extend it to Prescott, Prescott would be crazy to accept it. Which underscores the tremendous amount of leverage that Prescott has, thanks to the fact that the Cowboys didn’t sign him to a long-term deal in 2019 and did apply the highest level of the franchise tag to Prescott in early 2020.

Which brings it back to the original point. To get a long-term deal in place, the Cowboys have to offer Prescott something that he regards as better than his current status. His current status, especially in comparison to the greatest . . . deal . . . ever!, is incredibly strong.

39 responses to “One week left for Dak Prescott, Cowboys to do a long-term deal

  1. I always cringe with this type of analysis because it blindly assumes that there is zero risk to the player of playing on franchise and transition tags. The idea that “If the player can make $X by being tagged several times in a row, the contract should be at least that much” has been proven a fallacy time and time again with the most recent example being yesterday with Patrick Mahomes signing a contract that flies in the face of this theory.

    IF Dak Prescott decided to just decline any offer the Cowboys made less than what he would make under tags, it is just as likely that Prescott either gets injured on the interim and tanks his valuie, or even just has a down year with a new coach and a severely restricted offseason due to COVID-19.

    The “bird in the hand” for Prescott is not what he could make over the next several years under 1-year tags, but rather what the Cowboys have already offered him.

  2. The stalemate between Dak and the Cowboys is not about money, it is about the number of years. Both Dak and the Cowboys have agreed on the salary portion. The divide is in the number of years of the contract. Dallas is firm at a 5 year deal, and Dak is only willing to go 4 years. Dak wants to be able to sign another contract in 4 years when the new TV deals are reached, and thus, get a much bigger contract then. This has never been about the money offered.

  3. Prescott has no power.

    Dallas ‘signed’ him this year for $31.4 million. Good money for a QB.
    Dallas can ‘resign’ him next year for $37.68 million. Great money for a QB.
    Dallas can ‘resign’ him (or not) in 2022 for $45.2 million. Outstanding money for a QB.

    But… in each year, Dallas can sign, draft or trade for his replacement with no further commitment beyond the current year.

    What if Dalton shines? What if Newton shines and NE doesn’t pay him? Watson? Lots of cheaper options out there.

    3 years to find a replacement for a decent – not great – QB. (And they could trade him during the season if they want some picks.) 3 year’s of options. No dead cap.

    THAT is power.

  4. He’d be “crazy” to accept a $500 million dollar contract?

    Do you even hear yourself????

  5. Normally if I’m being honest I would be like get that money player but as a Cowboys fan I’m more like you know what we need a team friendly deal that considers the whole roster and keeping this awesome core together for years. And those Endorsement deals come a lot easier with that Star on your helmet. Facts!

  6. A “paltry” $2 million.

    I, along with 99% of America, would gladly take a “paltry” $2 million to spend 48 hours per year throwing a ball.

  7. Its difficult getting a competent QB.
    It can be worth overpaying a little to get one, becaus ethe alternative is asting several years with failed draft picks (Bortles, Trubisky) or bust free agents (Mike Glennon).

    Now having said that, I don’t know how good Dak really is. He had a good year in 2019 with Amari Cooper and Zeke. How would he do on a team with a worse Oline? Maybe last year was a bit of a fluke, becau ehis prior couple of years were just ok. Or maybe he has improved. I’d not want to overpay a guy who has had one good year.
    Mahomes had back to back good years and I consider him a safer bet.

    What team wins more games – a team with Dak at $40mm/year or a team with say Josh Allen and a cap savings of $36MM/year (for 4 years while on his rookie deal).
    Josh Allen isn’t that good, certainly Dak is better, but that $36 million pays for an upgrade at WR and Oline.

    Or team A with Dak vs team B with Andy Dalton (a stop gap 2 year QB) and a savings of $37MM. Maybe the results are similar.

    If its Dak at 40 or Mike Glennon at 18 (what a stupid contract that was) then I go with Dak.

    Offsetting this is that draft pick could instead be used on a WR or pass rusher.

    From Daks point of view, maybe he realizes the Cowboys aren’t going anywhere and wants to play on a stronger team. Kirk cousins left a garbage team and went to a good one (too bad for him their window is closing if not already closed).

    The risk to Dak isn’t just injury risk, it’s performance risk.
    What if he has just an ok year, nothing special. Maybe he reverts to his true level. Maybe Amari Cooper or Zeke get hurt. If Dak has just an OK year, maybe teams are less willing to over pay him. Then he has to go to a crap team to get over paid.

    If I was Jerry I’d tag Dak twice if he wouldn’t agree to a reasonable contract and start drafting QBs.

  8. Prescott’s a nice kid and a solid QB, but he’s NOT worth Patrick Mahomes money!

  9. Dalton is the quarterback Dallas will be going with in 2021, because Dak will be benched in 2020

  10. Should have never franchised him, or at the very least pulled it off the table. He will just be another Kirk Cousins or worse. Then again I hope they do sign him so they would be cap strapped for years!

  11. ss222222 says:
    July 8, 2020 at 9:20 am
    Normally if I’m being honest I would be like get that money player but as a Cowboys fan I’m more like you know what we need a team friendly deal that considers the whole roster and keeping this awesome core together for years. And those Endorsement deals come a lot easier with that Star on your helmet. Facts!

    It’s hard to blame Dak when he has been on a team friendly deal for his entire career.

  12. Cut your losses and release him. You should have rescinded the tag while you had the chance. Now your on the hook for 30 mil. But for one time in your life Jerry use that brain in between your ears and do something smart and dont outbid yourself.

  13. This is going to be studied in sports agent classes for years to come. Dak was in total control with Jerry Jones happily bidding against himself but Dak proved that you can get too greedy even when somebody is desperate to overpay you.

  14. Best qb, best rb, best wr, best OL…. yet no playoffs….

    Mahomes – MVP, Superbowl win, Superbowl MVP

    Dak – 1 career playoff win, brutal loss in must win game to the AAF Eagles…

    If Im Jerry Id let Dakota walk and go with Dalton. Extra money can be better spent elsewhere.

    Doesnt make any sense for Dallas to pay 40 million for a backup qb.

  15. Dak could very much be on a one-time franchise tag deal if he doesn’t agree to a long-term extension in the next week. The Cowboys may replace him through the draft or free agency and there may not be anybody willing or able to pay Dak anything close to top-tier money in 2021 and beyond. Just look at the deals that Winston and Newton had to take for 2020.

    This best-case scenario in the franchise tag tango has only worked for Kirk Cousins, and that’s because Washington ownership/management is not very savvy.

  16. There is the possibility that Dak will “only get” $31M this year, have a down year, lower perceived value & the team decides to move on with a cheaper, motivated backup QB in a new situation with lots of weapons.

    Dak doesn’t pass the NFL eye test. O-line is great, RB is epic & they have more than competent WR’s. He has not put up consistent great numbers or been the deciding factor that puts his team. The Cowboys played in the weakest division in the NFC & they didn’t even make the playoffs last year. He threw for more than 2 TD’s 6 times last year…..4 of the games were against the Giants & Redskins!

  17. Paying Prescott anything above $30 million/year makes no sense. He’s shown himself to be a good, but far from elite QB. Thinking he is somehow going to blossom into a Russell Wilson or Patrick Mahomes is just absurd. He’s not in that class. With the offensive talent Dallas has, Prescott should have played at an elite level. He hasn’t. That crucial game against Philadelphia last season should have opened everyone’s eyes.

    Andy Dalton isn’t as good as Prescott and he’s got less time left in his career, but with a cost of $13 million/yr less that Prescott, Dallas needs to think long and hard about overpaying Dak. Teams with top paid QBs haven’t done well winning Super Bowls.

    Which makes the most sense: Pay Dak what he wants and live with less talent around him, or go with a guy like Dalton with upgraded talent around him?

  18. The third best quarterback in the NFC East (Haskins, Wentz, Dak, Jones is the hierarchy) doesn’t deserve $31M.

  19. He’s not that good. Dalton may be just as good or better in the Dallas scheme. If I owned Dallas I would bank the 30 million and find out. It’s not like Dak has proven to be the next great thing.

  20. Frankly, I would absolutely love it if the Cowboys started Dalton and became the Dallas Bengals.

  21. Don’t do it Dallas. Give Dalton a chance to show what he can do then get rid of Dak next year. Let’s see Dak get even a third of that $35M he wants from any other team. He’d be a backup anywhere else.

  22. It makes no sense for Dallas to sign a multi year deal. If Dak gets you a super bowl win then learn the Flacco lesson and say Thanks Dak! and let him walk for his big payday. If they instead miss the playoffs or lose the first weekend, then draft his replacement. Or sign Cam if he is healthy and performs. Cam has already taken a team to the SB.

    If they just want to make the playoffs and lose first round they’ve got that in Dalton.

  23. O’Doyle Rules says:
    July 8, 2020 at 10:18 am
    Do the right thing Jerry – 10 years $504 million
    Oh God, I hope this comes to pass and that it’s fully guaranteed.

  24. Allow him to take or to leave the franchise tag for this year.

    2020 will be the make or break year for Dakota (his name is Dakota, not Dak – that is a Danish ham); if he wins several playoff games in 2020, then work for a long term contract. If he refuses, cut him. If he does poorly in 2020, cut him and draft a new QB.

    Quite simply Dakota has no real value – he isn’t good enough to command significant salary; he is average at best and has won as many playoff games as Kirk Cousins.

  25. Anyone who even says Haskins-Robbins from the Washington football team is even reached average levels is an idiot. The clown throws multi-flavored interceptions per game and is a statue back there – he can’t read defenses. He has a 386 processor of a brain – slow to react. He is clearly one of the worst QB’s in the NFL.

  26. KoolAidFree says:
    July 8, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Dalton is the quarterback Dallas will be going with in 2021, because Dak will be benched in 2020

    Everyone on this board is a bit dumber now having read this.

  27. Easy solution, either trade him now or let him play this year under the franchise tag. Then after this season put the transition tag on him and either match what someone else offers him or move on from him

  28. Dakup QB

    Starting quarterback that might be better than a backup, but you better not pay them big money.

    Dakup QB

  29. Why in the world would Dallas cave NOW…after seeing what Mahomes (rightfully) got?

    Dak isn’t even on the same planet as Mahomes talent wise, but has already had astronomical salary expectations from all that has been reported.

    What do you think he’s going to want now??

  30. I don’t care how good a 1-year deal is, it’s still a 1-year deal with no longterm financial security. Nobody who has ever played pro football where career-altering injuries are a fact of life has ever said “I’d really love being on a string of 1-year deals where the rug could be pulled out from under me at any time.” Sure, it COULD work out just fine in the end but that’s a risky proposition and the odds certainly favor it costing him millions.

  31. jurgyisgod says:
    July 8, 2020 at 11:45 am
    The third best quarterback in the NFC East (Haskins, Wentz, Dak, Jones is the hierarchy) doesn’t deserve $31M.


    Your fantasy team must be lights out……LMAO

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