Cowboys, Dak Prescott take next step toward potential divorce

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The Cowboys have had chances to get quarterback Dak Prescott signed to a long-term deal. They’ve consistently failed to offer enough to get him to accept. Now, Prescott has more power over the team than ever.

He’ll make $31.4 million this year. Absent a long-term deal after the season, he’ll either become a free agent in 2021 or make $37.68 million under the franchise or transition tag.

Some think the Cowboys won’t tag Dak next year. If they don’t, he’ll be able to pick his next team, unfettered by the Cowboys. That could mean the Jets or the Patriots or the Steelers (if Ben Roethlisberger retires) or the Colts or the Jaguars or the Raiders or Washington or the Bears or the Lions or the Saints or the Panthers or the 49ers. And then the Cowboys would have to find someone else to play quarterback.

Whatever happens, the failure to reach a long-term deal pushes the minute hand much closer to midnight for Dak leaving Dallas. If they tag him in 2021, a long-term offer will need to be good enough to get him to trade in $37.68 million for 2021 and the doomsday option for 2022: more than $45 million under the transition tag, more than $54 million under the franchise tag, or the open market. Whatever that is, it will be a lot more than what it would have taken in 2020.

That could be where it’s heading, with the Cowboys not being able to keep it from happening. And with the Cowboys potentially being required to compete with other teams in order to get Dak signed to a long-term contract.

89 responses to “Cowboys, Dak Prescott take next step toward potential divorce

  1. Then a team besides the Cowboys would have to give a ridiculous contract to an average QB? Sounds like a great deal

  2. He’ll have to win the Super Bowl this year (if there is a whole season) or he is gone…

  3. I think it’s pretty obvious Dak thinks hes better than he really is and the Cowboys are playing it right

  4. Not a cowboys fan..If Jerry doesn’t want Dak, let him go so he can be somewhere he’s appreciated.

  5. Think you can safely remove the Patriots from the possibilities. Unless he takes a one year base offer for $1.05 Mil, and $7.5 mil max – if all incentives are met. There has been a precedent set.

  6. Dak has less leverage than before. He’s tagged, and can get tagged again. Dallas has a backup that isn’t a significant drop off from what Dak brings. All Dak can do is play well and holdout if tagged again. What’s an average QB coming out of a holdout worth on the open market? It’s likely less than what Dallas has reportedly offered.

  7. I hate the Cowboys, but they are right to negotiate with the mantra “right player, right price”. Dalton is a perfectly capable player, at a fraction of the price. Dak is one of the most overrated QBs in a generation.

  8. I wouldn’t call it a divorce. More like a fling that lasted longer than expected.

    Dallas needs an upgrade before the window shuts.

    They should look into acquiring Josh Rosen and give him a shot with a much more talented team than where Miami was at early last season. Rosen played pretty well against Dallas in his first start with Miami.

  9. You’re acting like he’s the last quarterback left on the planet. If he takes the Cowboys to the big show, Jerry will take him to the bank. If he doesn’t, which is more likely, he can go underperform somewhere else.

  10. im pretty sure the Cowboys are either aware of this or know something about negotiations that noone else knows.

  11. The theory was Dak wanted 4 years and the Cowboys 5.
    Lets say they extend Dak for 4 years after this one.
    Everyone wins.

  12. i see Dak more like Jamis and Cam instead of Patrick .. i wouldnt pay him . but im good at spending other $$ .

  13. Personally I think they’re smart, I wouldn’t give him more than he’s worth and he’s not worth more than 31 mil a year,

  14. Why didn’t Dallas use the non exclusive tag on him this year? If some team gave him a stupid offer he walks and the cowboys would be compensated with draft picks. Now if they don’t tag him next year and he walks they get nothing.

  15. Wow Dak is so overpaid, he’s simply not that good. They might not get another qb as good as him, but he’s not someone who is worth betting the future on.

  16. best point I’ve heard on this was on NFL sirius this am that asked:

    How do you pay Ezekiel Elliot top dollar at his position, a position that noone would disagree is secondary to QB, after he holds out when Dak is a franchise QB who does all the things you want him to as a leader and would take 31 mill to play, and Dallas doesn’t get it done

    what would the needy franchises pay to get him?

  17. I like how it’s assumed Dak will get to pick his team. Are we watching the same guy? Daks not bad…but he’s not exactly capable of carrying a team without talent. He has a very talented team now… how’d they finish last year?

  18. Of the twelve teams you listed in the article, you can scratch at least half off the list. Prescott is nowhere near good enough to replace the quarterbacks on those teams.

    He’s an average NFL quarterback who hasn’t won anything yet – what makes you think that paying him a bundle of money is somehow going to make him better?

  19. This “article” goes against what you, and everyone else, has been reporting for a while. That is that the money was in the ballpark, but the hangup was over duration of the contract. They wanted to lock him up for longer, and now only lock him up for 1 year. I think they should be embarrassed. Then again, I don’t think much of Dak so perhaps they should consider themselves lucky…

  20. It’s a performance gig. I guess we’ll find out whether Dak is “worth it”. Short of a Super Bowl, I bet Jerry is willing to look elsewhere.

  21. He’d better play lights out. If not, the leverage breaks & he is traded, transitioned tagged or allowed to hit the open market. Until he plays, nothing left to think about, here.

  22. Why would the jets want Dak? Darnold beat Dak last year with a much worse team than Dak’s.

  23. Michael Ellis says:
    July 15, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Why didn’t Dallas use the non exclusive tag on him this year? If some team gave him a stupid offer he walks and the cowboys would be compensated with draft picks. Now if they don’t tag him next year and he walks they get nothing.

    ————————————————————————–

    This is exactly right. I doubt Dak would have even got an offer from another team. Sure there are teams that may have paid Dak big money or offered draft picks for him, but not both.

  24. He is not worth $35-40 million per year. Prescott is maybe top 15 QB but not top 5. No where near Mahomes, Watson, Russell or Jackson.

  25. They should transition tag him next year. Let him test the market and see what teams are willing to pay. Match any offer he receives.

  26. You’d think the Cowboys would have learned something from the way the Washington team mishandled the Kirk Cousins situation. But here they are in pretty much the same situation.

  27. With the cap dropping by a ton, he won’t have much leverage.

    He should have taken whatever deal he was offerred.

    What a country.

  28. To quote the ultra-obnoxious Cowboys fan who sat next to me at Lambeau Field a few years ago:

    “GO DAK GO!… GO DAK GO!… GO DAK GO!”

  29. Lets take a step back and be honest. The guy isn’t worth top 3 money, let alone the top 10. Hes a solid starter, likely a journeymen future for him. No intelligently ran franchise would build a team around this guy. Id laugh if Jerruh gives him a big contract, screws the team for years.

  30. They are going to wait and see what they have in Dalton. If he doesn’t work out, they’ll pay Dak – lol. A cheap way to hedge their bets.

  31. Dallas fan,but don’t think he’s worth that money he wants ,i think dallas should give him non exclusive franchise tag next year and see what he’s worth on open market and if they don’t match they get 2 1st rounders and resign dalton and draft someone to play behind him… which is what they should’ve did this year with the tag not exclusive like they did

  32. The Cowboys and Dak Prescott have agreed on a contract worth over $31 million this year. Sounds like a pretty good relationship to me.

  33. There’s actually some decent teams in that list that will need a QB. That may favor him in the long run

  34. I believe, despite what the Jones boys have been saying publicly, that they don’t want to sign Prescott to a long term deal until McCarthy gets a real good look at him and says, “I want this guy”. Obviously, they can’t tell the public or Prescott that McCarthy isn’t sure he wants him. Dak is getting 31 million to audition for McCarthy and unless Dak does something he hasn’t done before, Mike will bench him before midseason.

  35. Sometimes franchise tagging a QB is a way to dodge a long-term bullet…Kirk Cousins *cough* *cough*

  36. Too bad he couldnt be a free agent this year. Cam, Winston, Dalton were celebrating. The QB market should be even better next year when the salary cap is way down.

  37. Dak won’t be nearly as good anywhere else. He won’t have that massive O line to hide behind, and an all-pro RB to bail him out.

  38. And that tells us what?? To me, it feels like the Jones boys are learning lessons and making better decisons regarding the salary cap. For a lot of years they were (rightly) ridiculed for throwing bad contracts around like crazy. Seems to me that some credit is due to whomever it is behind the scenes that is holding so firm here from the team perspective.

  39. I’m trying to think of how many times Dak has put the team on his back and won a game through his talent, leadership, and ability. I’m not coming up with anything. Can anyone recall a defining game from him?

  40. In the NFL these days there are two types of teams that really contend for the title. First there’s teams that have a HOF-quality franchise QB that’s being paid big money, but they’re worth it. And then there’s talented teams who have the cap room to afford a few extra superstar players because they drafted a QB who is outplaying the cost of their rookie deal – EVEN IF THAT QB IS NOT THAT GREAT. The window for those teams is very short. The Cowboys just had that window, and they (Dak included) weren’t good enough to do anything with it.

    I’m surprised the Cowboys are doing the smart thing here by not guaranteeing themselves 5 years of mediocrity by paying Dak big money. His whole career, Dak has basically thrived when doing what Ryan Tannehill did last year. Played smart and efficient on a team with a powerful running game. In the one year he throw for over 4000 yards, the team was 8-8. Overall they’ve won 62% of games with virtually no salary cap spent on the QB position. As soon as Dak gets that money, and their cap takes the associated hit, the Cowboys are going nowhere for as long as the deal lasts. Period.

  41. The fact that there doesn’t seem to be a single person commenting here, which I’m assuming includes Cowboys fans, I think speaks volumes about what most people think of Dak’s ability. He should of taken the Cowboys offer. It’s doubtful he’ll ever see that again.

    Love the content on PFT here, but I couldn’t disagree with Florio’s stance more that Dak was wise to wait and Mahomes was wrong to sign his record setting deal.

  42. The Cowboys have committed huge money to Zeke, Cooper, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith. They have to be in win now mode or all that goes to waste. Drafting a new QB won’t work because it will take too long. Are you telling me you want to pin your hopes on Andy Dalton over Dak? That is nuts.

  43. NFL insiders have been wondering for the last three years when a team was finally going to balk at the exorbitant QB salaries. Well, it’s finally happening

  44. The notion that Dak has any leverage is sorta funny. Yeah, he’s decent. Sure, he has great stats in garbage time. Yep, he wins games against losing teams. And while he is supported by dang good talent on both sides of the ball, they can’t get it done against winning teams. So what’s this leverage? He leaves for a team with more money and less talent, and then fails more (and loses endorsement money)? On the other side, Jerry needs to find another QB in any round of the draft, while he has a decent Andy Dalton surrounded by talent? Dang, that’s quite the conundrum! I think Dak’s agent has done him a major disservice.

  45. I’m a little disgusted, no make that totally disgusted, with the Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Unlike all the Cowboys haters, and some of the Cowboy fans that are clueless, I like Dak. I think he a far better QB than many people think. He’s not Mahomes, but few are. He doesn’t throw the ball 40+ times a game. What he’s capable of is doing what is necessary to put his team in contention to win games. I’m good with that. Winning games is the most important thing in football, period. How much you win by, and how may yards you pass for, are not. Winning is, nothing else matters! Every team has a scale on what they want to play a player. The scale may very a little bit. That’s for all players. Star players, starters, reserves, and taxi squad players, everybody on the team. When you over pay any players, some player has to be paid less than there team value. The team can suffer as a result. Football is still a team game. It’s the team that plays the best and not the highest paid player on a team

    I believe Dak has over valued himself as to his value to the Cowboys. This won’t end well for Dak and the Cowboys. This get more likely to end in a divorce between the Cowboys and Dak.

  46. .
    why bother playing good?
    He gets $31million. play the year dakish mediocre and retire…

  47. Oh the horror. Not a Cowboys fan but is there really that big a difference between Dak and Dalton to justify Dallas breaking the bank for Dak? Either way, they are a 7-9, 8-8 team. Dak is not an elite QB but expects to be paid like one. No way from this vantage point.

  48. I see Steve McNair in Dak. Infact, I see the whole Tennessee system good for a QB like Dakota.

  49. Every Cowboy fan will tell you he’s not worth the kind of money he’s asking for just like Derek Carr is not worth what he’s currently getting paid.

  50. Let’s hope that someone hides Ryan Pace’s phone. The guy overspends at every position he can.

  51. Look at the stats. Dak first 4 years vs Andy Dalton first 4 years. Very comparable.

    Would anyone go back in time and lock up Andy Dalton after his 4th year to a big dollar long term deal that eats up a significant portion of the salary cap?

  52. Mike McCarthy used to coach the Packers.
    Mike McCarthy now coaches the Cowboys.
    Dak Prescott wants out of Dallas.
    The Packers are soon to move on from Aaron Rodgers.

    2021 Rodgers wearing the star.

  53. I like what the Cowboys did, They put their foot down and decided not to pay a Lamborgini price for a Mustang

  54. I dislike the cowboys and Dak, but y’all are selling him way short, he is far better than an avg QB, his QBR is tied with TB12 for 4th best behind only Rodgers, Brees and Wilson. While the boys have enough talent to win some playoff games, there is something missing,a nd part of that can be attributed to him, but he is way better than avg. as so many of you are saying.

  55. Does anyone really know what Prescott’s 5th year ask was? I doubt it’s as simple as everyone is making it out to be. The worse thing the Cowboys can do is overpay in the out years for a QB who’s had 4 years to prove he can win a big game. Romo2.0. Then everyone would be saying how stupid they are. Cam had a hard time finding a team and he’s a former MVP. I doubt teams will be outbidding one another for this guy.

  56. Good. It is great when a player has leverage. We can all disagree on what Dak is worth, but until the player becomes a free agent, only the owner decides the worth. Most other industries don’t work that way. Anyone else notice that Kurt Cousin is the only player in the NFL whose contract is fully guaranteed. He got that leverage by been fully free as an agent. Hopefully, more players will get leverage.

  57. John Baxter,
    Wasn’t Alex Smith’s deal fully guaranteed?
    Overall, not happening that he’s going to $37 mil next year. Not enough room with reduced cap. Unmentioned in any article, surprisingly, is any mention that union/league might negotiate reduce cap (and the tags may go down, too, including automatic escalators). All will be negotiated as these are highly unusual times.

  58. bostonblows says:
    July 15, 2020 at 8:15 pm
    Dallas needs an upgrade before the window shuts.

    They should look into acquiring Josh Rosen and give him a shot with a much more talented team than where Miami was at early last season. Rosen played pretty well against Dallas in his first start with Miami.
    ————————-

    I’m sorry, did you just say Josh Rosen is an upgrade on Dak Prescott? I know you guys all hate Dak, but damn.

  59. I’m really trying to stay positive about the potential for an NFL season this year, we’ll see.

    If it happens it will be interesting to see how they view Dak vs. Dalton, once they get to compare the two. That would likely be their deciding factor moving beyond this year.

  60. Cowboys can’t sign someone to a long deal that:
    1. Can’t win big games.
    2. Doesn’t make other players better.
    3. Has a skill set that is much closer to an above average backup then to an elite starter.

  61. I

    whyohwhydoyoumockme says:
    July 16, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Cowboys can’t sign someone to a long deal that:
    1. Can’t win big games.
    2. Doesn’t make other players better.
    3. Has a skill set that is much closer to an above average backup then to an elite starter.
    _________________________

    Ok, what’s your point? That’s Stafford, Ryan, Wentz, Goff, Cousins, the list goes on and they all got paid.

  62. “Look at the stats. Dak first 4 years vs Andy Dalton first 4 years. Very comparable.

    Would anyone go back in time and lock up Andy Dalton after his 4th year to a big dollar long term deal that eats up a significant portion of the salary cap?”

    Bad comparison.

    Under Andy Dalton / Marvin Lewis the Bengals were relevant. They had winning seasons. But yes, they couldn’t win the big one. But then you remove that combo and the bengals STINK, and are hoping a McVay disciple with a rookie QB can do better.

    Here’s the big lie in sports – that the ONLY goal is the superbowl. Fans are deluded into thinking that.

    The reality is, most fans and teams play to enjoy competitive ball, and there’s probably 6-8 at most legitimate contenders a year. But if you aren’t that legitimate contender, but competitive, do you DESTROY that all to play lottery tickets at a dynasty? I’m not so sure.

    But 8-12 dysfunctional franchises do this on a bi-annual basis it seems. “Realize” they can’t win it all, rip it all to shreds, start over, 2 years later repeat (looking at you Browns, Jets, etc.)

    It’ll be fun to watch the Cowboys, loaded with talent, hand over the reigns to a B free agent or rookie.

    Their one out is like an Aaron Rodgers trade / defection, etc. Even then, he’s a problem child now. Still might not work out.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  63. The rest of the NFL East prays for a reconciliation! Please stay together, Dak and Dallas! To go 8-8 over and over with that roster is no mean feat for a QB, but Dak is always up to the challange!

  64. The Patriots won’t pay this 8-8 guy $30 million. They can get that out of Stidham/Newton for way less.

  65. nyyankeehatespoliticos says:
    July 15, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    He is not worth $35-40 million per year. Prescott is maybe top 15 QB but not top 5. No where near Mahomes, Watson, Russell or Jackson.
    ————————————————————————————-

    Hes somewhere between 10-15 which is still better than average nut top 5 no way.

  66. nite2al says:
    July 16, 2020 at 11:27 am
    I

    whyohwhydoyoumockme says:
    July 16, 2020 at 11:07 am

    (…)

    Ok, what’s your point? That’s Stafford, Ryan, Wentz, Goff, Cousins, the list goes on and they all got paid.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    WHAT’S YOUR POINT?

    Willson,Mahomes and still to come Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson

    So….

  67. I dislike the cowboys and Dak, but y’all are selling him way short, he is far better than an avg QB, his QBR is tied with TB12 for 4th best behind only Rodgers, Brees and Wilson.

    ****************

    QBR? LOL!

  68. snakeplizkn says:
    July 15, 2020 at 11:06 pm
    He is Kurt Cousins caliber…let him go fleece another team.
    ———————————————————–
    Except Cousins is a top 10 QB and all his stats prove it. Washington fans want to live in a world where Dan Snyder did the right thing in not signing Cousins so they constantly dis him with nothing to back it up. Those QB’s that are all better than Cousins in Washington are really tearing it up, aren’t they?

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