The Dallas Cowboys seem to have only one big thing left to do before the 2020 NFL season and that's signing Quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term contract extension. After they assigned him the franchise tag for $31M, negotiations have gone quiet as both parties disagree in the contract's length. It's unlikely we hear any news until July 15th is around the corner, the deadline for NFL teams to extend their franchise players.
But will that really be the date?
Since Dak was tagged in March, that's the date we've discussed over and over again. July 15th. In case you're unfamiliar with how the deadline works, it's easy. Players that receive the franchise tag can still negotiate with their teams for a long-term extension. However, after said date, they must play under the tag or sit out. They can also strike a one-year deal to replace the franchise tag, but that usually doesn't happen.
That's what the Cowboys are facing. While many remain optimistic that a deal will get done in time, it's really hard to dismiss the contrary, considering Dak Prescott has been willing to bet on himself before. If he doesn't get what he wants, he likely won't break a sweat to play under the tag.
However, don't be surprised if the July 15 deadline ends up being pushed back to a later date. Back in February, teams agreed to push the dates for NFL teams to designate franchise players due to the CBA negotiations that were set to change how the league's economics worked.
The same could be the case ahead of July 15. Last week, reports emerged about the NFLPA and NFL's need to talk terms of the salary cap for a 2020 season to be feasible. With games likely to be played without fans (or a limited number of fans), revenues won't be the same for the league.
Exactly what they'll agree on to address the future decrease in revenues is unclear. They could borrow money from future TV deals or even ask players to take a pay cut (which is unlikely to happen, but anything goes in these negotiations). Mainly though, the question they'll have to answer is “How will the 2021 salary cap be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how will we adjust it?”
Reportedly, there's no deadline for these issues to be settled, but parties are aiming to get it done prior to the start of training camp in late July.
It's easy to note how uncertainty around the sport's economy has impacted the NFL. After the first wave of free agency, there hasn't been a lot of movement in the market for players like Jadeveon Clowney and Cam Newton among many, many others.
Until that is resolved, you have to wonder how teams will address tagged players looking for a long-term deal. After all, we don't know if the 2021 salary cap will go down or if they'll find a way to keep it from a steep decline.
If we still don't know by July 15, I'm betting the deadline will be pushed back.