Dak Prescott holds the cards in contract talks with Cowboys

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Dak Prescott had the Cowboys over a barrel in early 2021. He had them firmly so far over a barrel that year that he was able to do a new deal that already put them over a barrel again in 2023.

The Cowboys need to fix his contract now, in order to avoid a potential salary-cap disaster in 2024.

Under Prescott’s current deal, given its original structure and past restructurings, Prescott will have a cap number of $59.455 million in 2024. This year, it’s only $26.8 million. So the Cowboys need to re-do the deal far more badly than Prescott does.

Prescott’s other source of leverage comes from the fact that the Cowboys, as a practical matter, won’t be able to tag him in 2025. Thus, absent a new deal in the next two seasons, Prescott becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The entire problem traces to the team’s decision not to get Prescott signed to a reasonably robust deal after 2018, his third season. Instead, the Cowboys took full advantage of the bargain-basement fourth year of his rookie deal, applied the franchise tag in 2020, and then finally signed him to a four-year, $160 million deal in March of 2021.

The deal was structured to get Dak back to the table sooner than later. The Cowboys need to rush back to the table now, to avoid the double whammy of a cap charge of nearly $60 million next year and Prescott walking away.

The challenge becomes figuring out the next deal. Prescott’s last deal, worth $40 million per year, shows that he cares very little about being able to crow that he has the highest new-money APY in league history. He values cash in hand, along with the flexibility to get more cash via his next contract. In both respects, his contract from 2021 counts as the best one any quarterback has done, perhaps with the lone exception being the Deshaun Watson aberration.

For the Cowboys, the question becomes whether, at some point, they should just start over. Draft a new quarterback. Find a veteran starter. Do whatever they have to do to stop the funhouse ride that has become zero fun, sir for the team.

Dak is currently not one of the short-list franchise quarterbacks. He’s just not. He’s never led his team to an NFC Championship. He seems to have slipped a bit in 2022.

That makes now a great time to extend the deal. Prescott might not expect to become the highest-paid player in football. If he re-establishes himself as a top-five guy in 2023, he will.

Regardless, the Cowboys need to stop the doomsday clock that is currently ticking toward a $60 million cap number in 2024. Dak knows it. And it gives him all the leverage he needs to get a deal that likely will cause many to think he’s grossly overpaid in comparison to other high-end quarterbacks.

28 responses to “Dak Prescott holds the cards in contract talks with Cowboys

  1. Tough situation for Dallas. Prescott is not good enough to win them a championship, but he’s still better than about half of the QBs in the league. They’re likely just going to pay him again.

    And to the enjoyment of most of America, the mediocrity will continue!

  2. IMO, he’s overpaid with his current contract. Makes it likely he’ll be WAY overpaid with his next one. And he’s not alone…the 2nd tier of ‘franchise’ QBs are all overpaid.

  3. This article is spot on. Dallas FO is dumber than a red brick. They are stuck with him for a long time, like it or not. Given what they’ll have to pay him and lamb, parsons and Diggs they are screwed.
    Plus they went ahead a drafted a space eating DI who’s had no history of pushing the pocket and rushing the passer. Reach.


  4. Next time they have any draft capital they ought to be looking at cheaper options at QB.

  5. If Jimmy G plays the whole season he’s underpaid. Goff is underpaid. Daniel Jones Russell Wilson DeShawn Watson and Derek Carr are overpaid.

  6. Nobody has the answer for these QB contracts anymore. The cap will always go up, yes, but these QB salaries are going up at a much faster rate, percentage wise, than the cap is. Cap QB salaries? I dont even know how they could do that.

  7. It amuses me how much “ink” is used to promote a QB who has never won anything, playing for a franchise that hasn’t won anything in a very, very long time.

  8. I will not be surprised to see a new trend where teams draft rookie QBs and give them one new contract and then let them walk and move to a new rookie. The price of QBs is just too great these days and the continual kicking the can on balloon payments kills the team after the third contract. Stop the madness!

  9. Steelers will get as good or better play from Kenny don’t let Wilson Pickett for about $600 and a bag of donuts

  10. $60 M / year is $3.53 M per game. Now assume teams get no gate when on the road, that means for 8 home games, you need 50,000 fans at $150 a seat each to pay his salary. When you think of it that way, he is overpaid.

  11. Sweet to have a home team with 22 year-old Sam Howell, who has a better arm than Prescott, much better football/QB instincts, and is costing the Commanders next to nothing for the next couple of seasons. That said, our kid needs to prove that he’s the guy, so here’s hoping.

  12. 3rd string quarterback that cant throw down the field, cant read a defence and whose best play is a 5 yard checkdown, and has never done anything of consequence holds all the cards?

    Seems like a lot of money for a clipboard holder.

    Get er done Jerrah.

    The NFC East.

  13. He is better than most but not someone I would kill my cap for. I thought Seattle made the right move with Wilson and I don’t think Dak is all that different of a situation.

    At some point teams have to look at these cap killing contracts and say we are better off getting a bunch of draft picks and having a great roster instead of just having the QB trying to win it all.

  14. Need to cut bait,,,,,Cost – Benefit ratio is under water…Dak is good. so was Danny White.

  15. Yeah, can’t let him get away. After all, he does have two playoff wins in his career. Who knows, a 4 year extension may produce another two.

  16. Dakota Prescott is the Kirk Cousins of the NFC East. Does enough to get paid but will never win anything of significance.

  17. Dak is overpaid compared to his achievements but the owners are quick to use the slogan it’s a business when their underpaying running backs, forcing players to take a pay cut or sacking older players for cheaper younger ones so it’s busines is business when players can leverage the owners who clearly don’t like a taste of Thier own medicine.

  18. Dak is not a top 5 QB. It seems like most every time he has a huge passing day, it is garbage time stats due to trying to dig the team out of a whole that he himself has put them into with multiple turnovers. Dak is in the range of the 7th-12th best QB. Better than most, but by himself he cannot elevate a team. So pay him as the #5 QB in the league. In a few weeks he will be ranked in 7th to 12th in salary.

  19. Jones should have originally placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Dak. Find out the true market value. He is overpaid and doesn’t play well vs. Playoff teams. I would rather have Jameis Winston for $5 million a year.

  20. finfan63 says:
    May 19, 2023 at 10:46 am
    If he doesn’t produce this year, let him walk
    They can’t- his cap hit is $59m next year (last year of his contract). It’s too big. Hence the need to extend it to lower the hit.

  21. Howbout THOSE Cowboys!!!! . Although the Eagles may experience the same with Jalen Hurts in a few years , I’m thrilled to see the Cowboys in the predicament 1st!!

  22. Or… They let him play out his contract and say the gravy train ends here, Dak, and let him go see what the rest of the league thinks he’s worth.

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