Dak Prescott's 2020 season may have come to an abrupt end due to a season-ending ankle injury, but the contract dance between him and the Dallas Cowboys has only become more murky than it was before. Jerry and Stephen Jones have both said Prescott is “the future”, however, any words coming out of their two mounts should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott's representatives have been dance partners for a few years now trying to work out a mutually agreeable long-term extension. As of yet those talks have come to nothing and I don't imagine things will get any easier this summer after the 2020 season comes to an end. In fact, I'm not sure either side is going to be willing to give an inch in either direction.
How many times in the past have we seen Jerry or Stephen Jones say one thing and do the complete opposite? We've seen Dez Bryant and Terrell Owens both blindsided after being led to believe their jobs were secure, so it wouldn't be a complete surprise to see them do the same to Dak Prescott. His future in Dallas is far from secure, which is what we'll discuss today.
I honestly have a hard time believing the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott's representatives can come to agreement on a long-term deal. They've been back and forth for a few years now and still have failed to come to terms. Neither side really has any more leverage than the other, although I'm sure the Cowboys will try to use Prescott's recent ankle injury to their advantage if they can.
It looks like another standstill to me, meaning if the Cowboys want to keep Prescott around next season they will have to use the franchise tag once again and that will cost them a little over $37 million. But what if other and quite possibly better options arise that pique their interest more. Could they actually part waits with No. 4?
Choosing not to pay Dak Prescott isn't as unreasonable as it sounds. He's going to be seeking around $40 million per season – give or take – and that's a lot of money that could be allocated elsewhere to improve the roster. The only problem with that way of thinking is then the Cowboys are without a starting caliber QB on the roster, but that's where the 2021 NFL Draft comes into play.
If the Dallas Cowboys wouldn't have won last week against the New York Giants and moved into first place in the NFC East division they would have a Top 10 draft pick and quite possibly a Top 5 pick to draft a QB. That's well im range to come away with a new starting QB and at a fraction of the cost it would take to retain Dak Prescott.
That's not the way things played out though. Sitting atop the NFC East division means they would be a playoff team if the season ended today, meaning they would be picking in the mid to lower 20s instead of the Top 10. I could be wrong, but making or not making the playoffs could play a huge role in whether or not Dak is back next season.
I think this is a situation worth monitoring moving forward. There's still a lot of football to play, but there's no reason to believe the Cowboys will be any better as the season progresses. They could still end up with a Top 10 draft pick and be in play for one of the top QBs coming out this year (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance). Any one of the three could be an adequate replacement.
Depending on how much power Mike McCarthy truly has building the team the way he wants, he may prefer not paying No. 4 and using that saved money to bring in the players who he believes fits their system better. This of course is a lot of speculation on my part, but I have a hard time believing the Jones' are is committed to Dak Prescott as they let on. After all, they have to do what's best for the franchise and that means exploring every single option.