A hold out was always inevitable. Like Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War and the eventual victory of the Avengers in End Game, without a long-term contract in place, Dak Prescott and his representatives were going to play the cards that they had to keep the pressure on the Dallas Cowboys in negotiations. The Dallas Cowboys aren’t surprised by any of this, and neither should the Cowboys fan base. With both sides playing hardball on a long-term contract extension, holding out of “virtual workouts” always seemed inevitable.
That’s all this is. With respect to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, none of this is personal. Forcing players to wait on their contracts is just the Dallas Cowboys way of doing business with their high profile free agents since Stephen Jones has taken on more of a presence in the front office.
If I was @dak, I’d be DISGUSTED with the Dallas Cowboys. https://t.co/z24ylRLho6
Previously, with Jerry Jones taking the lead in negotiations, the Dallas Cowboys were often criticized for being too free with their money. This approach created the “cap hell” narrative they’ve lived under for the last decade or more, whether they were in tough times with their salary cap or not. Over the last half of the decade, Stephen Jones has taken on a more influential role with the front office, which has led to lengthy, drawn-out negotiations.
Stephen A. Smith brings up the contracts given to DeMarcus Lawrence, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott as evidence that they are disrespecting Dak Prescott by not giving him his deal. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Before getting his contract, DeMarcus Lawrence was forced to play a season on the franchise tag to prove his 2017 season wasn’t a fluke. He showed it in 2018, and he and the Dallas Cowboys entered the Spring of 2019, still needing to work out a long-term agreement. They again used the franchise tag on Lawrence as a place holder to get a deal done. Instead of the July 15th franchise tag deadline, the Cowboys had a more urgent early-April deadline because Lawrence was dealing with a shoulder injury that required surgery and rehabilitation.
To assure Lawrence would be ready to go week one of the 2019 season, they needed to get a deal done in the first part of April. They say that deadlines make deals; well, they reached a deal right when they needed to reach an agreement.
Amari Cooper was in a similar boat to Dak Prescott last offseason. Both were eligible to negotiate contract extensions. Cooper was going into the final year of his original rookie contract. Unable to reach an agreement, he and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to hold off on negotiations during the season. Those negotiations recommenced once the 2019 season was over, but a deal never fully materialized until the day before the official start of free agency. The Cowboys allowed Cooper to check the market to see what he was worth, and he got a sizable offer from the Washington Redskins that, per reports, would have paid him $20 million more in total earnings than the contract he signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Though they drug out the negotiations with Cooper and his representatives, a deal came to be at the time it needed to. Again, deadlines make deals.
Ezekiel Elliott had to hold out of training camp and the preseason. He had to threaten to sit out regular-season games before the Cowboys and his representatives were able to come to an agreement.
They didn’t want to pay Ezekiel Elliott in 2019. The Dallas Cowboys felt it was a year early to begin negotiating his contract extension. However, they didn’t feel like they could play the 2019 season without him, so eventually, a deal was worked out, and Ezekiel Elliott was there for practice the first week of the season.
And while Jaylon Smith and La’el Collins got contract extensions, one could argue that those deals were very team-friendly, which is why the team was willing to get them done. Had they not been, you can bet the Dallas Cowboys front office would have been more than ready to ride it out and see where they were this offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott will agree. When the team can resume live practices and get on the football field to prepare for the 2020 season, a deal will be reached. The Dallas Cowboys want Dak Prescott to be their quarterback for 2020 and for years to come. Mike McCarthy believes Dak Prescott is a quarterback that can win you Super Bowls. At some point, he’ll have something to say to the front office so he can work with his quarterback on the practice field.
At the moment, with teams unable to practice, the Cowboys and representatives don’t feel the pressure to get a contract finalized. Though the Cowboys will be holding “virtual workouts” during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s nothing that will go on there that Dak Prescott can’t do on his own. With Kellen Moore returning as the offensive coordinator and play-caller and Mike McCarthy indicating they’ll keep the same language, there will be continuity with the design of the offense.
Prescott has an excellent rapport with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin, who are all back for 2020. Prescott’s been getting work in with former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Though Stephen A. Smith has a point and the Dallas Cowboys need to get this contract situation sorted out, telling Dak Prescott to close off communication with the Cowboys front office is terrible advice. It’s easy for negotiations to become personal, especially when those negotiations center on a person’s value. However, none of this is personal. Again, the Dallas Cowboys have made it clear that they love Dak Prescott and believe in him as the leader and face of their franchise. Everything else is just posturing for these negotiations.
As Dak Prescott, Mike McCarthy, and other players on the team have stated, this is a business decision. Ultimately, the business people will get a deal done because it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to get this contract situation resolved.
A deal will be done. There remains mutual interest on both sides to find a long-term agreement. The Dallas Cowboys want Dak Prescott around for a long time, and Dak Prescott wants to be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for a long time.
A deal will be done.
It is inevitable.