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As Cowboys Season Ends, Contract Negotiating w/ Dak Prescott Reopens

The Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 season ended yesterday with their loss to the New York Giants. However, there is much new business to attend to as the Cowboys and 17 other NFL teams can begin their offseason work while the rest duke it out for a championship. Dallas’ biggest concern going into this 2021 offseason is the contract of Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott and the Cowboys had to settle for the franchise tag in 2020 after failing to reach a long-term agreement during last year’s negotiations. Dak is once again set to become an unrestricted free agent this year unless Dallas gets him signed or uses a second-straight franchise tag.

Once July 15th, 2020 passed without a long-term contract signed between them, the Cowboys and Prescott could no longer work out a deal until after the end of the regular season.

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For the first time since July 15, Cowboys and QB Dak Prescott can engage in contract negotiations. Embargo ended with season’s conclusion today. Both sides seek a long-term extension. Prescott is expected to be franchise tagged for second time in March if no deal reached by then.

Only Dak, his agent, and the Cowboys front office know for sure how much negotiating has still taken place since July. It’s not something the league is likely to investigate or enforce the way it would with general free agent tampering; Prescott was still part of the organization under the franchise tag.

But it hasn’t been until now that negotiations could be made public and something could finally be put to paper. And based on comments today by Stephen Jones, getting Dak Prescott signed to a long-term contract is their number-one priority.

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Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan said getting Dak Prescott a new contract is “certainly right there at the top” of their list of priorities this offseason. Jones mentioned that they have to see the impact COVID-19 will have on the 2021 salary cap

While many Cowboys fans don’t want to hear about the salary cap and just want to see Dak get the contract he deserves, there’s no denying that 2021 will present unprecedented challenges to NFL front offices.

Current projections have the salary cap dropping around $22 million this year due to lost revenues from the pandemic. The cap has only ever decreased one other season; the lockout year in 2011. But even then the decrease was significantly less than what’s potentially coming.

Even coming off his season-ending leg injury, 27-year-old Dak Prescott would still be the top QB and arguably top player overall in the 2021 free agent class. He was on pace to smash the single-season record for passing yards before his injury and would have plenty of suitors willing to make him one of the league’s most-compensated quarterbacks.

The Cowboys have maintained all year that they are committed to Prescott as their franchise QB. But we heard the same last year and saw that there were certain lines of money and years in the contract that Dallas was not willing to cross.

Now after going 6-10 and seeing what an average QB like Andy Dalton was made of, will the Cowboys be more flexible in their discussions? Or conversely, could the severity of his injury and fear of the future cause Prescott to be a less resolute in his demands?

The Cowboys have incentive to get this deal done before the start of 2021 free agency in March. The first year of a long-term contract with Prescott would certainly carry a lesser cap hit than the $37.7 million he would receive on another franchise tag. That would give Dallas more spending power for other free agents when the market opens.

We’ve been waiting over a year for a final answer to this question. Prescott says he wants to be a Cowboy and the Cowboys say that want Prescott; can the two sides finally agree on the terms to make it a reality?

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. IDK what the cowboys should do with dak , there’s always the possibility of adding a QB through draft with the 10th pick , like Trey Lance , i don’t think i’d pay Dak , i like him but we can’t afford to have another big contract blow up in our face with Dak injury , no one knows it could be a Carson Wentz type of deal where he isn’t the same after his injury to me draft a QB and put franchise tag on Dak for another year , see if his play hasn’t diminished and if it did then you go with rookie and let Dak go , if he can still play at a high level then keep Dak and trade said rookie QB

  2. Signing Prescott long term is a done deal with the extension of Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore. No surprise

  3. Let Dak hit the open market to find what he deserves I don’t think it will be what he is rumored to think he deserves

  4. This has to be the weirdest contract scenario in NFL history. According to the article, DP wants to be a Cowboy AND Cowboys want DP as their QB.

    So if this is true, the question is then, WHY HASN’T IT HAPPEN YET? Is something else happening behind the scenes that the public can’t see.

    IMO, Throwupthex88 makes a good point about “ANOTHER BIG CONTRACT BLOWING UP IN OUR FACE”.

    Players that got BIG contracts;

    Lawrence wound up with 6.5 sacks, well off his 14.5 in 2017, number of tackles were decent, but QB hits were way off.

    Zeke didn’t performed well, to put it mildly, especially when looking at his first three years.

    Amari Cooper got to over 1000 rec. yds, but only 12/yds per catch, and ONLY 5 TD catches.

    All three UNDER PERFORMED and not worth the stupid money they received. So now we have DP, also wanting stupid money he is not worth, IMO. I have commented numerous times my reasons, no need to rehash.

    Front office has to really drill down on this situation, before committing to a now injured risk DP.

  5. I’m open to any and every option when it comes to our QB situation. Despite what some may think, there is no clear solution. All scenarios would come with risks. What I do know is that the QB position is extremely important in the NFL. If you don’t have a good one, it’s unlikely you’ll be a contender. The bad teams have the worst QBs and the good teams have the best ones.

    Sign Dak and you have limited money for free agency. Coupled with the uncertainty of whether the injury will affect him moving forward. Can he continue his upward trajectory and be the dynamic offensive player and clutch performer the cowboys need?

    Resign Dalton to be a starter and he’ll wanna be paid as a starter, and there goes some of that FA money. It’s also likely that Dalton would need a superior team around him, to compensate for his limitations. How close are the cowboys to that? And could we even resign him? He’s on record as saying he wants to be a starter, so it’s likely he entertains offers from other teams. But most importantly would Jerry let Dak walk and sign Dalton as our starter? Seems possible but unlikely.

    Lastly many are in favor of signing Dalton as a stop gap and drafting a young QB to develop behind him. Draft that QB when? Use that coveted #10 pick this year on one? That pick probably needs to go to a defensive player for this atrocious D. Draft one in the 2nd round? The quality goes way down if you do. Obviously QBs come with a high bust rate, so u get average QB play from Dalton while praying that our young QB develops into a good one?

    All come with risks. But in reality the only thing that matters is what Jerry wants. My gut tells me he likes Dak and will find a way to resign him. When Jerry likes someone, he usually resigns them. Personally I think this is the best choice; but I have the same concerns everyone else does with that choice.

  6. Hey Gary b, very good synopsis of the difficult situation we are in with QB position. All the options must be looked at very carefully. Do they cave in totally to DP’s demands, as it appears that DP will not take less than what he thinks he is worth, when you look at this dragged out timeline of negotiations so far.

    Personally, if DP is not willing to compromise at all, I would opt for the last option you presented. IMO, this contract drama has gone on way too long, and DP has been the primary cause of the deadlock. Draft a promising young QB, and develop him behind Dalton. Is there another Justin Herbert out there at pick10? My fear is an injury risk DP gets a fiscally challenging blockbuster contract, and NEVER lives up to it. Then we may be mired in more years of what we have seen for the past 25. To me that may be more risky than the other option.

  7. good points VAM and Gary b idk as you can prob tell from my comment i’m leaning with dak then i’m not , the bottom line is Dak worth a top 3 or 5 type of QB deal ? If not then what’s the gameplan moving forward ? I agree we need defense and we need to address it in draft and in free agency but the NUMBER 1 thing you have to get right is QB , if you don’t then the cowboys are FOR SURE not gonna do anything, you can afford to screw up on a DE or a WR or a RB , BUT YOU CAN’T OVERPAY AT QB . So with that said what is the alternative ? Well with that 10th pick Trey Lance could be there , Zach Wilson might be there but that would be pushing it , if Lance is there i think i’d take him if Dak won’t budge on contract , whatever they do

    I’M NOT FEELING GREAT ABOUT THE COWBOYS CHANCES MOVING FORWARD

  8. If you gonna draft a QB you have to go all in with it using 10th pick, don’t pick with 2nd rd pick cuz then you’re still hurting yourself trying to fix the defense cuz there still would be quite a bit of good defensive players there and QB floors from 2nd rd on is very volatile and you can’t trust them

  9. Which side do you think has the advantage in contract negotiations ? The more I think about it the cowboys do actually and there’s reason for one side or the other to have the advantage but with the salary cap taking a hit with covid coupled with the injury and we also need to consider , how much better would the cowboys record be if Dak stayed healthy for the entire season ? Well look at last season and even this season , last year he put up career high numbers but we ended up 8-8 , look at the first 4 games of this year , if it wasn’t for the falcons botching yet another game with that onside kick the cowboys would’ve been 0-4 so is he a top 3 or 5 QB ?
    Another thing that is hurting his case is what’s going on with the other QBs who got paid, Jared Goff the Rams are a playoff team but seem limited though and they are in salary cap trouble , the Eagles and Carson Wentz , benched for the 2nd round Jalen Hurts , the Houston Texans and Deshaun Watson , he’s a top 5 QB , they just in REAL BAD SALARY CAP TROUBLE with Watt and David Johnson the biggest ones combined with Watson’s contract , and they have the 3rd pick in the draft ………….. well the dolphins do anyways

    I can see the cowboys doing the same thing as any of these teams did if they sign Dak to that kind of deal so with all that said i think the cowboys do have the advantage

  10. TUTx88, My two cents, DP is not top 3-5. If he were, Jerry may have paid up already. I have a feeling Jerry is NOT TOTALLY SOLD ON DP, despite all the talk we hear.

    Also, J may still be a little PO about the “imminent deal” he thought he had at the beginning of last year, before DP pulled the rug out from under him. Say what you want about J, but he pays his player, even overpays them. But in this case there may be some left over animosity in play. I mean how many times do you have to offer and gets refused before some friction heats up. And after all, no one is irreplaceable.

  11. VAM- Good points! I guess a couple of my concerns would be – Would we be able to sign Dalton and for how much and for how long? Likely he has a few other suitors. Do we really wanna get into a bidding war for Andy Dalton? Likely he’s looking for a 2-3 yr deal as he’s on record as saying he wants to be a starter. Would we burn a #10 pick on the draft and sit him for two years? Burning two years of his rookie contract? So we have him for two years and hope that he develops into a top ten QB which Dak certainly is, at which time he’s seeking an extension.

    Really think that #10 pick needs to be used on an impact defensive player to improve this horrific defense But again what matters is what Jerry decides.

  12. Gary b, I am with you, the defense should have the priority in draft. I would like Parsons heading our LB position, as he is considered the best D player in the draft. Then a CB or S or DT depending on best available.

    That said, this draft will be difficult to figure out because of the elephant in the draft room. Now if Jerry is able to sign DP without breaking the bank, it becomes much less complicated. I get your concerns about signing AD, if we go that option. If we can sign AD to a fiscally responsible two year contract and draft the right QB, whose to say he has to sit for two years or even one. I understand that you would be burning some money on AD in that scenario. Lots to sift through this off season with our Cowboys.

  13. Very interesting comments on DP and the QB situation in Dallas. IMHO, I would offer A Dalton the QB job if DP insists of breaking the bank for a deal. Dalton was brought in without summer camp, with a broken Offensive Line, and he excelled at the position given the situation. Draft the best QB with the 10th draft pick and hope for the best. Cowboys can’t give 40 m to Dak, and restrict the budget for the rest of the positions. We would have more mediocre seasons, and would be trapped with such contract.

  14. James those are good points. Though I would question burning that coveted #10 pick on a QB when we desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball. I would be more open to hoping Trask (Florida) or Jones (Alabama) falls to them in the 2nd rd though I think that’s unlikely.

    I just think in this modern era of football ur QB has to be a dynamic player who can consistently make big plays for you. Nearly all the contenders have one of those. I think Dalton is a solid QB but is he talented enuf to get us far in the playoffs? If you have a game manager QB ur team around them (particularly defense/running game) has to be strong. Defense and running game for cowboys was atrocious this year . Granted OL issues somewhat affected that but it’s a weakness nonetheless.

    Part of me would like to see what we could do in a world without Dak and the other part is afraid of what that world would look like.

  15. In actuality if you look at the draft order , Idk if trey Lance will even be there , other than the Bengals every team has a good reason to draft a QB , for sure don’t want to reach if 4 or 5 QBs are gone then we need some to pick some defensive players , and I wouldn’t take QB with 2nd pick , I’m going 360 with my take and say don’t take QB til like 4th rd

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