It’s disappointing that Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys were unable to get a long-term deal done before the July 15th deadline. As a result, the team is now forced to swallow his entire $31.4-million cap number and will have to wait until next offseason to make any new deals.
The franchise tag is something teams don’t really want to use. It’s a tool used to keep negotiations with their premiere players going while preventing them from hitting the open market and potentially leaving.
As history would suggest, tagging quarterbacks is essentially unlocking the door for them on the way out.
Other than this year, there have only been two other quarterbacks to play on the franchise tag: Drew Brees for the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers and Kirk Cousins for the Washington Football Team.
In both cases, both players eventually left their respective franchises. However, their situations are different than what the Cowboys have with Prescott.
When the Chargers used the tag on Drew Brees in 2005, the team had already drafted Phillip Rivers the year before, so he was already on borrowed time in San Diego. Despite Brees leading the Chargers to the playoffs, the writing was on the wall.
Washington used the tag on Kirk Cousins in consecutive seasons in 2016 and 2017. At first, it was supposedly used in an attempt to continue contract talks for an extension, but the relationship between the team and Cousins deteriorated. Washington eventually wanted to trade Cousins rather than him leave for nothing. Which he, in fact, did.
With Dak Prescott, however, the situation is a bit different.
Not only has the team not drafted Dak’s eventual replacement, but contract negotiations had reportedly gone well, with the Cowboys even offering to make him the highest-paid quarterback at the time.
There have been zero reports of the Cowboys looking at trading him. Their intentions were and always have been to keep Prescott in Dallas.
The relationship between Prescott and the Cowboys front office has been in question, but both the front office and Prescott and his reps are going to need to make some concessions in negotiations. That might happen now that Prescott has new representation.
His agent, Todd France, left CAA Sports on mutual terms and Prescott followed suit, ala Jerry Maguire. Reportedly, Todd France has been on Dak Prescott’s side when it came to his desire to have only a four-year deal instead of five, which was where some of the distance during the negotiations has been.
Todd France is still one of the more respected agents in the league, representing other big-name clients like DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Simmons and Bud Dupree, the last two he advised to play on franchise tags to earn better deals the next time around.
Finally, the Cowboys rarely use the franchise tag but it’s always yielded promising results. Their history with players playing on the tag is reassuring that they’ll get a deal done with their quarterback.
Dak Prescott is the sixth Cowboy to have the tag placed on him but he’ll only be the fourth to play on it. These are all the Cowboys who’ve ever played on the franchise tag:
- Flozell Adams (2002)
- Anthony Spencer (2012 and 2013)
- DeMarcus Lawrence (2018)
Each of these players was awarded a new contract after playing on the tag.
It shows that the Cowboys are not a team to use it lightly and have shown that if they want you, they’ll sign you. It might not be immediate but the Cowboys are not the same as other teams when it comes to placing it on a player.
Their intention is to get an extension done eventually. The same will be said for Dak Prescott. You can forget the history of quarterbacks playing on the tag and it constantly being brought up. Both of those quarterbacks were on their way out, but Dak Prescott is going nowhere.