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Dak Prescott’s Possible Holdout Shouldn’t Surprise Dallas Cowboys

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.

Stephen A Smith on Twitter

If I was @dak, I’d be DISGUSTED with the Dallas Cowboys.

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.

What do you think?

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. lost me at Dak Prescott and Superbowl in the same sentence. The Zeke deal was a big mistake and most called it. We knew caving 2 yrs early to an RB would set the wrong message and here we are.

    • It’s what Mike McCarthy thinks. So are you already out on him?

      They did what they had to on Zeke, but he and Dak’s situation are completely different. As you mentioned, Zeke had two years left on his contract. Dak, despite the franchise tag, is not currently under contract. Totally different situations.

  2. Where do I start? Lets start with what is happening RIGHT NOW in our Country. MILLIONS of people are losing their jobs, not to mention their lives. Doctors, nurses, first responders, police officers and many others are working super hard and putting their lives on the line to fight this virus. I wonder if they are NEGOTIATING with their employers over their LIFE AND DEATH sacrifices.

    Prescott is an EMPLOYEE of the Dallas Cowboys. He wants to be payed like he is the best QB in the league. Real simple, HE IS NOT. From the news reports, Cowboys ALREADY offered him $33 million a year. $105 million guaranteed. That’s $2,062,500. per regular season game. That $2 MILLION + per GAME, FOLKS. And I understand training camp, pre season, etc, so no need to bring it up. On top of that, for being a COWBOY, he is making a fortune on endorsements. FOR BEING A DALLAS COWBOY.

    But according to John Williams, Cowboys are playing “HARDBALL” and drawing out the negotiations. $33 million a year offer was made MARCH 8th. Who is actually drawing OUT this process?

    BTW, Average American has to work hard for about 700 YEARS for what this guy TURNED down for ONE YEAR.

    Please don’t try to talk for the “FAN BASE” as to how they should think about this situation. Some of us don’t believe or agree with some big mouth on TV.

    Prescott is overrated. He padded his stats with GARBAGE yards.
    FEASTED on bad teams; Giants, Redskins, Lions, Dolphins, etc. He actually LOST TO THE JETS.
    Lost to good teams; Saints (he managed 10 whole points), Packers, Vikings, Bills, Pats
    With the division there for the taking against Philly, he WILTED and managed 9 whole points, 0 TDs.
    With that great offensive line, that great running back, and the pieces ( Cooper + Cobb etc) brought in just for him, he produces an 8-8 record. POP THE CORKS!

    Cooper take took less money to remain a COWBOY! He is what we once called a TEAM PLAYER!
    Prescott is NOT a team player. There is just so much money to go around. It’s called a cap. Really wonder what his team mates REALLY think about him turning down $33 million/yr, while some of them are making a tiny fraction of that?

    Zeke was given a GOOD offer, EARLY, which he declined. This was not a LAST minute offer as John Williams implies. All the others were paid well and are happy, despite being called “team friendly” as proclaimed by John Williams. BTW, Lawrence DIDN’T play well last year, did he John.

    Now he won’t participate in workouts. If Jones had the stones, they would trade this problem, as some folks are floating, to the Dolphins for 5 pick ++ in draft and get Tua. Problem gone and solved and team does better than 8-8 easily

    • We’ve been down this road before. I’ve heard these same lines from you every time I write something about Dak. The problem is, me a registered nurse, working in a hospital that has cared for COVID-19 patients understands that I’m not in the same field as a professional athlete. I don’t generate the same revenue as a professional athlete. You have to quit comparing normal every day people to celebrities. It doesn’t work.

      Amari Cooper took less, sure. But the other option was to go to one of the worst organizations in the NFL, the Redskins.

      I never said the deals for Zeke or Lawrence were team friendly. I said that Jaylon and La’el’s contracts were team friendly. Please don’t misrepresent my words.

      The only people floating the idea of trading Dak Prescott are trolls and entertainers. Anyone with any sports sense understands that this is the nature of the business and it will all be resolved.

      You aren’t paying Dak Prescott because of just one season. You’re doing it because of what he’s done for four seasons and what he will do. He’s only gotten better every year he’s been in the NFL. In 2019, the Dallas Cowboys led the NFL in dropped passes. Do you think that effects the win total? It absolutely does. They’re special teams, especially Brett Maher was terrible. Do you think that effects the win total? It absolutely does.

      There isn’t a sport in the world that is more dependent on the totality of a team doing their jobs than American Football does. You seem like a smart guy, so I’d figure you’d get that. The Quarterback has the most influence on a game, but he needs others to do their jobs as well.

      • Hey John, maybe you want to check what team REALLY had the most DROPS! Clue, it was not the Cowboys. Also Prescott has NOT “improved every year” as you claimed!

        QBR by Year:
        1. 78.8
        2. 69.5
        3. 56.2
        4. 70.2 – WITH the aforementioned PADDED STATS.

        I guess I don’t value “celebrity” as much as the average person. IMHO, they are the same as anyone else, no better, no worse. I get your the “revenue” point. I look at it a little differently. How is it that the average family can’t afford to go to a baseball or football game without breaking the bank or NOT GOING AT ALL? I think it is, at least in part, because the astronomical salaries of these so called “celebrities”. People are paying $200 + a month for cable TV, which FORCES one to buy all these ridiculous sport channels et al, with these obnoxious talking heads. The products of the sponsors of these channels are charging more to the people who buy their products, to cover their costs of their air time and the endorsement costs. Endorsements are making fortunes to these “celebrities”, including Prescott.

        Please read my comments again. I did not say Zeke contract was “team friendly”. I brought up the fact that they had given him an offer EARLY, that he declined, just to dispute your claim that Cowboys only deal “LAST MINUTE”. Then about Lawrence, I mentioned he actually regressed in his performance the year AFTER he got a deal, which BTW, was done well before a DEADLINE.

        As a long time Cowboy fan, I have the right to criticize any player I think is NOT WORTH what his PERFORMENCE dictates. My previous comments lay out my FACTS. No need to rehash these FACTS again. We can agree to disagree. But please try a little better to get your facts straight.

        • Per Pro Football Focus, no quarterback had more of his passes dropped than Dak Prescott (43) in 2019. Tom Brady was second with 34.

          He’s a better quarterback now than he was his rookie year. Numbers and the eye test both support that.

          I’m not saying that I “value celebrity,” I’m just a realist and understand that they’re different than you and I.

          You said that I said Zeke’s contract was team-friendly, which I didn’t.

          You are certainly entitled to your OPINIONS, which are not FACTS as you claim, but the Dallas Cowboys organization disagrees with you.

          My facts are straight. Have a nice day.

  3. Dak Prescott is NOT an employee of the Dallas Cowboys since he has NOT signed a contract. He has every right to negotiate since he does work in a profession were lives depend on his services.

    • “Dak Prescott is NOT an employee of the Dallas Cowboys since he has NOT signed a contract.”
      Incorrect. Dak signed his roomie contract and there is a year left on it.

      “He has every right to negotiate since he does work in a profession were lives depend on his services.”
      Lives depend on playing football? In what alternative reality universe?

      • Amen, brother. Comparing a football player to a doctor or nurse is ludicrous. Especially with the health conditions in our Country now.

        Prescott is most certainly an EMPLOYEE of the Dallas Cowboys. If he was not, he would be a free agent. If he were a free agent, then WHY aren’t other teams negotiating with him and offering him a contract right now. Everything I commented on are FACTS and facts are stubborn things.

  4. Dak es un muy buen mariscal pero no el mejor, los sres Jones deberían hacer lo necesario para obtener picks a cambio de el y Cooper y en el draft aprovechar por un Qb mejor que Dak y un receptor de elite que hay varios este año. Así contaría con sus sustitutos y como 40 millones más en el límite salarial además de los pics.

  5. Dak will be sign when the time comes. Dak will be a Dallas Cowboy for a longtime. Look at the official website who is the Cowboys branding Dak. So all this discussion is meaningless. On the official website the succession of quarterbacks are Meredith Staubach Aikman Romo and Dak. Noticable snub no Danny White who led the Cowboys to 3 NFC Championship games.

    The Jones must have something against White. he deserves his spot in the Cowboys quarterback food chain, moreso than Romo or Dak.

  6. It’s funny how ALL the losses are put at Dak’s feet. Cowboys fans say he isn’t worth the money. Let’s look at the facts. Tony Romo was at one time the highest paid quarterback in the league. How many Superbowls did he lead us to? I haven’t heard many cowboys fans say he wasn’t worth the money. Aaron Rodgers is generally considered one of the best Qb of his generation. 1 Super Bowl win. Of the 32 starting QBs only 2 can make the Super Bowl does that mean none of the rest were worth it? How many First round pick QBs haven’t made it to the Super Bowl. How many regular guy QBs have a Super Bowl ring? Trent Dilfer has a SB ring. He’s not a great QB. There are 53 men on a roster. The Qb is not the only reason a team
    Makes it to the super bowl. Bad calls, fumbles,missed field goals. Everything plays a part. For All you Dak Haters our there. No QBs makes every throw. It is a combination of qb play, play calling, limiting turn overs and good fortune. Dak has gotten better every year. This year he has a head coach that knows how to get to the Super Bowl. Let’s wait and see what happens. I am aCowboy fan. I’ll see what happens in January.

  7. Take the best QB they can get in round one and deal dak or just cut him He’s going to cost a lot more than he’s worth. He is not competitive in pressure situations. Teams know if they can pressure him he wilts

    • Totally agree! Trade Prescott before or during the draft for as many picks as possible. Something like what Jimmy Johnson did with Heschel Walker. With those picks we eventually went on to win three SUPER BOWLS in four years. With one of those picks, draft the best possible QB available.

      Burrow, Tua, Herbert, take our pick. Rather have one of these rookies then greedy Prescott.

      • Sure Draft Burrow. You hope he’s as good as Dak Prescott or better and then guess what, when the time comes for him to sign a contract, i guarantee you’ll be asking to trade him too because you’ll see him as greedy.

    • You’re downgrading at quarterback if you do that. Whoever you draft will be worse than Dak Prescott and you hope they will be better.

      How did Tom Brady lose three Super Bowls. Oh, right pressure.

  8. To John Williams I know a rookie won’t probably be as good but dak isn’t worth top money. You can’t possibly compare him to Brady. He’s in no way in the class of Brady. Maybe after he wins a couple of Super Bowls. Dak doesn’t have. It

  9. The one thing I stand by is that we as a people have zero rights to tell a man or woman how much they are worth. He will get what the organization is willing to pay. Nobody will break their arms to get them and he to sign. We seem to forget that the salary cap was put in place by the owners because they have zero self control on how much they pay for player contracts. Being the highest paid QB or middle of the pack is irrelevant. He will get what the market pays. Get off your soapbox and try to have a little perspective on how the business of NFL works.

  10. Jerry Stephen Jones got to be the craziest people on this earth they no good n # well Prescott ain’t worth the # why do they keep f # with dak ido not no let that crazy dullusional man go plenty free agent QBs out there sign one are draft one Jerry you an Stephen are just stupid if you pay Dak it will be a big mistake then sit in the booth an look crazy fan crazy get rid of him damn

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