Today is Monday, July 13th, and the Dallas Cowboys franchise quarterback still doesn't have a long-term contract. Dak Prescott's representatives and the Cowboys' front office have just under 56 hours to hammer out an agreement before Prescott's $31.4 million franchise tag number locks in for 2020. If that occurs, the two sides wouldn't be able to come to finalize his next deal until January 3rd, 2021.
The details remain sketchy about where the two sides are in their negotiations, though there's a rough framework that sits at about $145 million in total money over four or five years. Talks have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to change the revenue projections for 2020, therefore impacting the salary cap for 2021.
Though it would seem unlikely that Patrick Mahomes' 10-year extension would change things for Prescott and the Cowboys — mostly because of the length and money included in the deal — it's impossible to rule it out.
On Prescott's side, he could argue for a higher percentage of guarantees or perhaps a higher average annual value. On the Cowboys side, they could go back to the six or seven-year contracts they were offering in the early stages of discussions.
Last week, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that the Dallas Cowboys “are not worried” about Prescott's contract situation. He even went as far to say that the Cowboys would “play this all the way up to the deadline.” Now, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that the two sides “are not close” on a new long-term contract.
The two sides have been split over the length of the next agreement. Prescott's team is seeking a four-year commitment to be a free agent again just after the new network broadcasting deal with the NFL renews. The revenue is expected to increase substantially and will create a significant bump in the player's portion of the revenue through the salary cap. With a four-year deal, Prescott would be a free agent again after the 2023 season before turning 32.
The Dallas Cowboys have long hoped they could have Prescott on a five to seven-year deal. From a salary cap accounting perspective, the longer the term of the contract, the more flexibility it gives a team to manipulate the contract to help their salary cap situation.
We've heard for years that deadlines make deals, and it's proven true for the Cowboys when they've had players on the franchise tag.
In 2015, the Cowboys got Wide Receiver Dez Bryant signed to his long-term agreement on the July 15th deadline. There was mutual interest from both sides to get a deal done, and a deal got done.
In 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence on his second franchise tag, the Cowboys were able to finalize a deal with their premier pass rusher in early April. Though it was three months before the actual July 15th deadline, Lawrence needed to have shoulder surgery and have time to rehab before the start of the 2019 season. While it was a soft deadline for Lawrence, there was an understanding that he'd need the surgery and four to five months of rehab to be ready for week one of the 2019 season. By April, the two sides were motivated enough to get a deal done, and a deal got done.
It feels like these negotiations have gone on for an eternity. For the last year and a half, the Cowboys and Prescott's representatives have gone back and forth at the negotiation table and in the media to get a deal done. One thing that has been consistent from all parties involved is their desire to be in each other's lives for the long haul.
Dak Prescott wants to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys for the entirety of his career. The Dallas Cowboys believe Dak Prescott is their franchise quarterback. There's mutual interest in getting a deal done. When there's interest from both sides, deals get done. As they approach Wednesday, July 15th, a contract that keeps Dak Prescott with the Cowboys through his prime seems inevitable with an outside shot that they the extraordinary circumstances put these negotiations off another six months.