Decision day comes for Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott

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With fewer than 24 hours until the window closes on a long-term deal until after the 2020 season, the Dallas Cowboys and franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott are no closer to an agreement than they were months ago.

Per a league source, the two sides still aren’t talking. The Cowboys made their most recent offer in March, and they’ve done nothing since then to kick-start discussions.

While it’s possible that the Cowboys will make one last push at getting Dak to sign, they’ve done nothing to lay the foundation for whatever it is that they may offer before the clock strike 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The Cowboys’ latest offer consisted of a five-year deal, with a percentage of guaranteed money too low for a five-year deal. Their options are to increase the guarantee significantly or to cut the offer to four years, the length for which Prescott has been pushing.

Ultimately, the question continues to be whether the Cowboys will offer Prescott enough to get him to trade in the $31.4 million he’s due to make this year, the $37.68 million he’d make under the tag in 2021, and the three-headed monster the Cowboys would face in 2022: Transition tag in excess of $45 million, franchise tag in excess of $54 million, or unrestricted free agency for Dak.

Some have suggested that Dak shouldn’t assume that he’ll be tagged again in 2021, and that he likewise shouldn’t assume anyone else would pay him $37.68 million next year. The fact that the Cowboys used the highest possible franchise tender this year (they could have saved several million under the non-exclusive version) suggests that they aren’t willing to risk the possibility that he’d leave now. So why would they take an even greater risk of him leaving later by not tagging him a second time?

Indeed, if Dak goes after 2020, who would they replace him with? They got lucky with Dak in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. How lucky will any team get in 2021 if there’s no college football season and a draft pick who hasn’t played college football in 20 months suddenly is expected to perform at the NFL level?

Barring a catastrophic injury or a dramatic dip in performace, Dak is looking at $69.08 million over the next two years, followed by either a gigantic payday from the Cowboys or a chance to see what the open market will bear.

Considering how that worked for Kirk Cousins in 2018, Prescott should be exited by the possibility of becoming the first quarterback in league history who received the exclusive version of the franchise tag, didn’t sign a long-term deal, and then became a free agent. If the Cowboys want to keep that from happening, it’s time to do what they should have done the moment his third regular season ended: Make him an offer he can’t refuse.

59 responses to “Decision day comes for Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott

  1. Cowboys really overplayed the leverage they thought they had.

    They should’ve locked him up to a 4 year deal at or near what Goff and Wentz received.

    Now they have a situation that mirrors the Cousins scenario and Dak is going to get paid like no other in NFL history.

    He gets the 2 years at 69 mil guaranteed…

    Then, he will get an open market contract that should eclipse what cousins got in Minnesota…

    I wonder if the fact that they are both 4th rounders has something to do with how this will has and ultimately will play out ?

    Either way, Dallas dropped the ball.

  2. If you just look at stats, sure, he’s top tier but when you take his record against quality opponents he’s second tier. In my view, a top tier quarterback can take a team on his back and win when it really counts. I don’t think Dak has demonstrated he’s a $35 million per year quarterback.

  3. “The Cowboys made their most recent offer in March, and they’ve done nothing since then to kick-start discussions.”

    Good. It’s dumb to continue to negotiate against yourself.

    It seems that they’re not letting themselves be held hostage by top 12-15 QB, and I appreciate that. Don’t handicap the team to overpay one player.

  4. Never made sense to me that the Cowboys didn’t take Hurts in the second round. The Cowboys offense is a sum of its parts, Hurts can perform with the OL, RB, and WR situation that is as good as any other team in the league. Hurts cap number is $1,100,000 and Dak’s is $31,000,000. Does anyone think Dak will be $30,000,000 better than Hurts?

  5. Prediction (if 2020 season does happen):

    – Dallas Cowboys win 7 to 9 games (with the 3rd easiest schedule), finish 2nd in the NFC East and do not make the playoffs

    – Prescott is benched after the bye (after losing to the Steelers) with a 2020 record of 3-6

    – Dalton is named the starter and wins 4 of the final 7 games

    – Start of 2021 season, Cowboys attempt to draft franchise QB, release Prescott and Dalton is resigned for 3 years (approximately $60MM, $40MM guaranteed).

  6. I don’t think there are too many people who think Dak should be paid top 3 money based on what he’s done so far on the field, but that’s what he’s going to get either way. Negotiation dynamics can be just as important as on field talent, as shown here bigly. Dak showing shrewd talent OFF the field + Jerruh screwing the pooch = huge $ for Dak

  7. He’ll take his $31M and combine it with his $50M in endorsements and walk way as a mediocre skilled QB that made $80M this season just because he is the QB of the Dallas Cowboys

  8. From what I’ve read he’s set for life NOW from endorsements. Add 17M to that for 2020 (after taxes) and it’s easy to see why this is not a hard decision for him. He wants the contract he wants, or, he’ll play out the franchise tag scenario. In other words, I perceive none of the desperation that some players seem to have when trying for their first big payday. He’s taken care of his business, so he gets to operate from a position of rationality and strength. Doesn’t hurt that he plays QB, a position with a long shelf life and minimal (though certainly not zero) risk of career-ending injury.

    Contracts are a 2-way street. People forget that. Fans get all chapped when players won’t sign whatever the team flops down on the table…. He has zero obligation to lock himself into a contract that he doesn’t like.

  9. I totally disagree. Far more likely he is slightly better than average. He has not shown that he can elevate and motivate when it counts. Last year was ridiculous. Go into Philly and play a team decimated by injuries a put up 9 points. Wilson, Jackson, Mahomes, Rodgers..they win games by sheer talent and will when necessary. Dak is the “King of Almost Comebacks”. We will revisit after this season.

  10. He’s just not that good. Cowboys may want to save $30M/year on a rookie QB. That team has quite a payroll already.

  11. Crystal ball: Dak plays like an average QB, and the team has an OK record in 2020. Dallas selects an early round QB in the draft. Dak walks and signs for less money than Dallas was willing to pay. Dalton starts 2021, and they have another OK year. McCarthy starts the draft pick in 2022. Dak never sniffs a contract as lucrative as what Dallas offered.

  12. The Cowboys will let him walk after this season … if there is one … unless — Prescott can take them to the NFC Champ game

  13. Let’s go back to the days when the Cowboys were trotting out guys like Ryan Leaf, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchingson, Drew Henson and Anthony Wright. He also tried to draft Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook.

  14. Jerry wants one more year to see if Prescott is better than 8-8 in a weak division.

  15. Prescott finally has a QB guru as his head coach. I’d say the odds are he’ll play up to his potential a lot more now.

  16. The standard for Dallas is to win the superbowl. Andy Dalton isn’t going to do it. A drafted QB would take years to develop. Cam Newton is with the Pats and isn’t going anywhere if things work out. Dak represents the best chance for the boys to become a champion. Pay the man.

  17. I am a Dak fan, but the real reason I wish they would make a deal is so I don’t have to read about this nonsense for another 2 years.

  18. This is turning into “Who shot Jr” in the NFL. Put ink to paper Dak or in the words of David Lee Roth “life goes on without me”. I’m a businessman. I would hold you to the franchise tag right now and if you want a deal then deal. But if not. Then let all that guaranteed money go away and if you get hurt because and an RGIII happens to you you. Tough crap. One play. One hit… can change everything. Just remember this.

  19. Dak turned down a 5 year, $33+ million/yr deal last offseason. So he’s about $30 million in the hole right now on his potential earnings.

    If he actually plays out the full string on the tag, which is almost impossible, then he’d still make less than if he’d taken the deal last offseason.

    He seems stuck on only wanting a 4-year deal. (Even though taking the 5-year deal last offseason would have left him with 4 years left now – the same thing he’s asking for.) So the only way he makes up the lost $30 million is if he signs a 4-year deal for nearly $40 million/yr, which isn’t going to happen.

    Any way you slice it, this looks like a bad play for Prescott. Anything short of making the Super Bowl and he’s probably out of a job next offseason, and no other team is going to want to pay him anywhere near what the Cowboys already offered. Which means he loses both the $30 mil he’s already lost, the years of $30+ mil on the back end of the contract he didn’t sign, and the extra perks of being the Dallas QB.

  20. harshedmellow says:
    July 14, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    He’s taken care of his business, so he gets to operate from a position of rationality and strength.

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

    Has he, though? Mahomes, Wilson, Brees, and Rodgers each won a Super Bowl before getting their mega contracts. Prescott just came off an 8-8 season where he had the division title in his hands and flopped.

    You don’t give a guy the biggest deal in the league in hopes that he’ll get better. You give him that deal because he’s already done something that makes him irreplaceable. Prescott has not done that, in fact he’s going backwards.

  21. Dakota (that is his name, not Dak) should be offered a staggered guaranteed money solely based upon each year’s performance.

    2020 – guaranteed $5 million at signing – $27 million in salary – must win a playoff game in order to get second year guaranteed escalator
    2021 – guaranteed $15 million at signing based upon stipulation above – $25 million in salary – must advance team to championship game to get third year escalator
    2022 – guaranteed $20 million at signing based upon stipulation above – $30 million in salary – must get team to Snoopy Bowl for fourth year guaranteed escalator
    2023 – guaranteed $30 million at signing based upon escalator above – salary $35 million with a $5 million bonus winning the Snoopy Bowl

    At every level if the team does not get to the playoffs, the contract for subsequent years is voided and Dakota can become a free agent; if Dakota does not win a Snoopy Bowl at the end of 2023, he becomes an instant free agent and is terminated from the Cowboys. He would be available for incentives of an additional $5 million per year for each year he wins a Snoopy Bowl in addition to any other bonuses.

  22. The cowboys are actually in a good position here. Last year they missed the playoffs with Dak. They have him for 31.x M this year. Why not let that play out and see what happens this year IF there is a season at all. Suppose they miss the playoffs again? is this guy really worth 35M per year with no playoffs? What if he gets hurt and Dalton performs well? Most importantly what if there is no fans which is VERY likely….the cap is going to go down next year…eventually it will recover but paying that much for a QB who cant even consistently beat the division would be silly from a business standpoint. We can all agree the cap is going down due to a dive in revenue. They have Dak on a show and prove one year deal. No risk, even if he proves, you get next year at 37 so thats 2 years at less than avg of what he is asking, while knowing what has he done for you lately. I have an odd feeling the Cowboys are going to be much better off at the end of this…and thats coming from a cowboys fan.

  23. I think Dallas is hedging their bets with Dalton and would rather sign him to a deal rather than Dak. Even with all the talent on offense on that team, Dak hasn’t shown he’s up to the task. I really think Dalton could thrive in that offense with all that talent. Then I think the Cowboys will let Dak walk away for a 3rd round pick or something. Dak overplayed his hand but he was lucky that the Cowboys were dumb enough to place the more expensive tag on him. I have a hard time believing they’ll do that next year. Nobody is going to pay him $37M.

  24. You see 2nd tier QB after 2nd QB tier get paid mega bucks, why should the train stop for Dak? Haha, Dak get yo money!! Cowboys had you on the cheap for 4 years. Time to pay the piper, Cowpokes!!

  25. “Considering how that worked for Kirk Cousins…”

    Please. Every other team in the league is looking at that Cousins deal and thinking “well, at least we didn’t do anything THAT stupid.”

    The Cousins contract was good for Cousins, sure. But for all other teams it is a cautionary tale and does not help Dak – no team is giving him a Cousins type of deal.

  26. “The standard for Dallas is to win the superbowl.:

    Maybe in the early 90’s, which was 3 decades ago, not so much now, not even sure how you arrived at that conclusion, unless it’s a delusion!

  27. No way $37 next year. Cousins made $44 in two years under tag. Now $69, crazy. With cap dropping next year, they probably can’t even afford $31 again and field a competitive team. Dak will never make up that $30-35 he could have made in 2019 under earlier offer. Buh-bye.

  28. whenwilliteverend says:
    July 14, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    I think Dallas is hedging their bets with Dalton and would rather sign him to a deal rather than Dak. Even with all the talent on offense on that team, Dak hasn’t shown he’s up to the task. I really think Dalton could thrive in that offense with all that talent. Then I think the Cowboys will let Dak walk away for a 3rd round pick or something. Dak overplayed his hand but he was lucky that the Cowboys were dumb enough to place the more expensive tag on him. I have a hard time believing they’ll do that next year. Nobody is going to pay him $37M.
    _______________________________

    I swear, you guys know nothing about football economics. First, Dallas is NOT planning anything with Dalton, except him riding the pine. Hello? They already tried to sign Dak to a 5-year deal, but Dak wants 4. You see QB after QB getting paid and suddenly Dak won’t get money or deserve it? On the open market, 38 million easy. QB is the name of the game and he has the 2nd most wins in the last 4 years and the stats to back it up. All you say is oh, he was 8-8. So, when he was 13-3, he deserved a 120 mil? Dumb. It’s a team sport.
    Did you not see Cousins get paid? Listen up, listen close now, it’s not about what YOU would do!! You are not an NFL GM. Dak is already getting 31 million this year. Overplated his hand? Haha, catbird seat! If you don’t think Jacksonville, Chicago or the Raiders wouldn’throw an extra 7 million more at Dak on the open market, you’re sadly kidding yourself and you have blinders on.

  29. Dak is gambling with a lot of money. He may win like Cousins. But if he doesn’t win or gets hurt, he just lit $100 million on fire.

    PFT assumes teams will continue to break their cap for good QBs who haven’t won anything. But unless the Vikes make a miracle run to the SB things are going the other way.

    Titans got Tanniehill for pennies and a fourth. Pats got Cam for nothing. Cowboys got Dalton for half of nothing. QBs who win ib the playoffs get paid, sure. But the market is flooded with not-quite-good-enough QBs and they get squat.

    When Dak is an FA in 2021 teams are going to ask themselves “Do we have more talent around hin than Dallas did?” Who is going to be able to say, Yes we do? Nobody.

  30. redclaw1314
    Why is it the “Standard” for the Cowboys to “win the SuperBowl”?

    What make people think that they are entitled to consider this a “standard” for them?

    They have not SNIFFED greatness since the Aikman/Emmitt days.

    They have been perennial under achievers and DAK has not elevated them past being essentially just able to GET to the playoffs. They’ve been there 3 times with him and lost twice.

    Never advanced past the Divisional Round.

    So, I say to all the Cowboy lovers who essentially still have their heads in the Tom Landry/ Jimmy Johnson days thinking this team is filled with talent and greatness every year… that their GOAL should be winning the Super Bowl, but “Standard”… should be “let’s do better than last year.”

  31. The decision has already been made, his name is Andy Dalton if Dak does not come around. Actually I am surprise Dallas did not pull the offer with so many different ways they could have went. Dak is extremely lucky to have signed what he did. Dak is trade bait currently for draft picks. Watch.

  32. nite2al says:
    July 15, 2020 at 8:16 am
    whenwilliteverend says:
    July 14, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    I think Dallas is hedging their bets with Dalton and would rather sign him to a deal rather than Dak. Even with all the talent on offense on that team, Dak hasn’t shown he’s up to the task. I really think Dalton could thrive in that offense with all that talent. Then I think the Cowboys will let Dak walk away for a 3rd round pick or something. Dak overplayed his hand but he was lucky that the Cowboys were dumb enough to place the more expensive tag on him. I have a hard time believing they’ll do that next year. Nobody is going to pay him $37M.
    _______________________________

    I swear, you guys know nothing about football economics. First, Dallas is NOT planning anything with Dalton, except him riding the pine. Hello? They already tried to sign Dak to a 5-year deal, but Dak wants 4. You see QB after QB getting paid and suddenly Dak won’t get money or deserve it? On the open market, 38 million easy. QB is the name of the game and he has the 2nd most wins in the last 4 years and the stats to back it up. All you say is oh, he was 8-8. So, when he was 13-3, he deserved a 120 mil? Dumb. It’s a team sport.
    Did you not see Cousins get paid? Listen up, listen close now, it’s not about what YOU would do!! You are not an NFL GM. Dak is already getting 31 million this year. Overplated his hand? Haha, catbird seat! If you don’t think Jacksonville, Chicago or the Raiders wouldn’throw an extra 7 million more at Dak on the open market, you’re sadly kidding yourself and you have blinders on.

    ——-

    Take a look at Dak’s record against teams with winning records. Take a look at Dak’s record when Elliot is not playing. Dak is the very definition of mediocre.

  33. Hard to believe Dak screwed it up this badly. He had Jerry bidding against himself to the degree he was going to hand Dak the biggest contract in history and claim he’d gotten a bargain. But Dak got greedy. Now, he’ll one year on the franchise tag then settle for WAY less than Jerry was offering him. He’ll never make that lost money back.

  34. Put yourselve sin Daks shoes.

    If you play at the tag level for 2 years, you are free.
    You can then get overpaid by any of teh teams that need a QB.
    You can take a discount, like Cousins did when he chos ethe Vikings over teh Jets, to play on a good team.

    The Cowboys aren’t a particularly good team, so why stay there?

    Now if he doe slike playing there, and there is no state tax, then he can take a couple MM/year less.
    Or he can play under 2 tags and stay in Dllas at even more money.

    What helps Dak is there aren’t many “a little below average” starting QBs to go to. If you don’t have a good starter, you have to drafta QB who probably isn’t that good, or you sign a free agent like … ??? … Mike Glennon, Ryan mallet, Blake Bortles, Trubisky…
    I would take Andy Dalton at 4MM over Dak at 40MM, but thats just for one year.

    The Cowboys need to start drafting QBs.

  35. Take a look at Dak’s record against teams with winning records. Take a look at Dak’s record when Elliot is not playing. Dak is the very definition of mediocre.
    ____________________________

    That’s any QB without weapons. What was Brady’s record against winning teams last year and he got a pass for having no talent. Also, Dallas’ play calling was awful last year and A. Cooper only plays home games. But blame it all on Dak.

  36. Gotta say I’m proud of Jerry for the way he’s handling this. I think he has correctly valued the player and I think Dak is going to realize that when he hits the open market.

  37. nite2al says:
    July 15, 2020 at 11:18 am

    That’s any QB without weapons. What was Brady’s record against winning teams last year and he got a pass for having no talent. Also, Dallas’ play calling was awful last year and A. Cooper only plays home games. But blame it all on Dak.
    ___________________________

    You must be friggin’ kidding me. You’re trying to say Dak has NO WEAPONS?!?! You have NO IDEA what you’re talking about, and shouldn’t involve yourself in football-related discussions. NO IDEA.

  38. You must be friggin’ kidding me. You’re trying to say Dak has NO WEAPONS?!?! You have NO IDEA what you’re talking about, and shouldn’t involve yourself in football-related discussions. NO IDEA.
    ______________________

    Dak does have weapons, plenty. The thread I commented on, mentioned Dak’s record without Zeke.

  39. nite2al says:
    July 15, 2020 at 8:16 am

    I swear, you guys know nothing about football economics. … If you don’t think Jacksonville, Chicago or the Raiders wouldn’throw an extra 7 million more at Dak on the open market, you’re sadly kidding yourself and you have blinders on.

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

    The Jags signed a QB who had just won a Super Bowl for $22 mil/yr. The Bears just signed that same QB for $8 mil/yr.

    The idea that Prescott could make $38 mil on the open market is insane. Look at other QB signings. He’d be lucky to make $28 mil, and I doubt he’d get an offer above the mid-20s.

    Frankly, I don’t see any other team that would sign him as a starter. Teams already have QBs who can produce mediocre results. No one’s going to pay an 8-8 QB with a losing record against winning teams that kind of money. Only Jones, with stars in his eyes and hopes that Prescott can become something he hasn’t already been, is making these kinds of numbers seem plausible.

  40. nite2al says:
    July 15, 2020 at 11:18 am
    Take a look at Dak’s record against teams with winning records. Take a look at Dak’s record when Elliot is not playing. Dak is the very definition of mediocre.
    ____________________________

    That’s any QB without weapons. What was Brady’s record against winning teams last year and he got a pass for having no talent. Also, Dallas’ play calling was awful last year and A. Cooper only plays home games. But blame it all on Dak
    ___________________________

    Prescott against teams that finished the 2019 season .500 or better: 2-7…last 4 seasons playoff record: 1-2
    Brady against teams that finished the 2019 season .500 or better: 4-2 …last 4 seasons playoff record: 8-2 / 3 SB appearances

    And you wonder why Brady gets a pass.

    Keep on keeping on with Dak. He’ll get you terrific stats from 6 games throwing for 3/4 or 5 TDS against teams that end up drafting with the 2,3,4, and 5th selections.

  41. nite2al says:
    July 15, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Dak does have weapons, plenty. The thread I commented on, mentioned Dak’s record without Zeke.
    _________________________________

    So in 2017 when Dak had far fewer weapons (although one of the best OLs we’ve seen in ages), his team goes 9-7. Last season when his O is stocked with a strong OL, TWO 1100-yd receivers + Randall Cobb, a HOF TE + a strong up-and-comer, Zeke Elliott rolling for 1300 yds… The #1 ranked offense in the entire league… And the team goes 8-8??

    And you say play calling was horrible? Yet it got them the #1 offense in the league?? Sounds to me like DAK couldn’t execute when it REALLY counted. That’s what it sounds like.

    So yeah, I blame it on Dak.

  42. You are still, in my opinion, on the wrong side of this issue. I get it…everyone should maximize their earning potential and someone is always dumb enough to pay it. But they have a real chance to do what a lot of teams just do…overspend. This isn’t “what they should have done.” Unless you believe on 3 people play on a football team.

  43. “That’s any QB without weapons.”
    ___________

    Dak has plenty of weapons around him and a good defense. On paper they should have easily won their division last year, only they didn’t. Dak had like 4 games down the stretch where a single great effort wins the game and clinches the division. But he never had that single great game.

  44. Rookie of the year (over Wentz and Goff BTW), multiple Pro Bowls, multiple playoff wins, multiple division titles, .612 winning % (fifth in the league for those that believe a QB should be measured that way), having to deal with not only the Clapper but also the Jones boys, statistics that show a steadily increasing yearly progress in QB metrics, never missed a start, top 5 passer rating, and the fact that drafting a QB is a crapshoot — yeah, he doesn’t deserve to be paid. SMH.

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