Five weeks from today, all NFL players who’ve received franchise tender offers from their teams this season will become ineligible to sign a long-term contract. This is a big date for the Dallas Cowboys and Quarterback Dak Prescott, who remain embroiled in the most newsworthy negotiation of the 2020 offseason.
The Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott before free agency opened in March. They’re paying roughly $5 million more to prevent him from talking to other teams, resulting in a $31.4 million cap hit in 2020 on his one-year deal.
Dallas has maintained all along that they see the franchise tag as a temporary placeholder and intend to sign Dak to a long-term contract. But if they don’t get it done in the next five weeks, they will have to defer those talks until after the 2020 season.
Here’s the specific description of what happens on July 15th in the NFL’s own words:
” At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.”
The Cowboys and Prescott continue to squabble over how many years are on the contract and the total compensation. Both want to get it done but have dug their heels in on certain points in the deal.
There are logical reasons why the talks haven’t been resolved quickly. I outlined these in greater detail in early May, but suffice to say that personal circumstances for Dak, the overhaul of Dallas’ coaching staff, and other issues related to COVID-19 and disrupted business practices are all culprits.
Still, these talks could easily be where they are today even without delays. There’s a popular saying in business and sports that “deadlines make deals.”
The last Cowboys to get the franchise tag was DE DeMarcus Lawrence, who ended up signing his long-term deal much earlier in April of 2019. However, you have to keep in mind that this was his second year on the tag after playing with the one-year franchise deal in 2018.
So yes, July 15th isn’t far away. And it’s becoming more worrisome by the week.
But the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott now have over a month to talk without other significant football concerns. This will afford them every opportunity to agree to terms if they’re willing to finally concede certain demands.