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How COVID-19 Plays an X-Factor in NFL’s Salary Cap, Prescott’s Negotiations

As you may very well know, 2020 hasn’t been a normal year. Just like our personal lives have changed due to the current coronavirus outbreak, so has the sports world. Right now, few sports are back in action and none of the major sports leagues are back in the United States. And as far as changes go, we’re still trying to figure out what will happen and how it will happen.

For instance, right now MLB is trying to reach an economic agreement with its ballplayers since league revenues will take a hit because fans won’t be able to attend the stadiums if the season starts. Although baseball is aiming to start in the summer instead of the fall, one has to question if fans will be in attendance when the NFL kicks off in September.

If there are none, one has to wonder what will happen next for the NFL? More specifically, what will happen to its salary cap?

Things clearly won’t remain the same. Heck, earlier this week, reports emerged on the league’s teams agreeing to raise their debt limits because of the financial hit they might be forced to take.

The NFL economics work on a revenue-sharing system. That’s how the salary cap is determined every year. Based on the league’s revenue, 48% of the money goes to the players (according to the new CBA, with the percentage set to increase when a 17th game is added in the near future).

That means how much the league earns impacts the salary cap every year. That’s why it’s continually increasing and why top players get more money than the ones who signed contracts before them. More money for the owners means more money for the players.

With new TV deals on the horizon and a new CBA in place, the salary cap was expected to grow drastically in the upcoming years. But the current contingency might alter that quit a bit. While the league gets most of its money from TV broadcasts, tickets, beer, and food make up for a significant amount of their earnings.

If you look at professional basketball, you’ll see their CBA has a clause that protects the league from “force majeure” situations. This means if something beyond the control of the parties occurs, such as a pandemic, the NBA can ask players to take a pay cut.

This isn’t included in the NFL’s CBA which likely means the NFLPA won’t be accepting any owners’ proposals for players to take less money.

By now, we’ve talked about Dak Prescott’s negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys a lot. Since Dak is aiming to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league and has been franchise tagged, a lot of factors come into play.

But maybe we haven’t talked about the current COVID-19 as an important X-factor.

With the first $40M per year quarterback about to arrive at the NFL in the shape of Patrick Mahomes or maybe even Deshaun Watson, we need to question if that will be at all possible in 2021 when the salary cap would take a considerable hit if fans are not in the stands this fall.

At a time where Dak Prescott seems to have the leverage in his current negotiations with the Cowboys, the front office could be benefited by the uncertainty of next year’s salary cap before signing Dak to an extension.

Of course, the league and the player’s union could reach an agreement due to the extraordinary circumstances that are upon uns to keep the salary cap from being reduced. But as it seems to be the case with everything related to COVID-19, there’s no way of knowing what will happen.

For now, all we can do is be patient and be on the lookout. And of course, stay at home. Do that.

Tell me what you think about “How COVID-19 Plays an X-Factor in NFL’s Salary Cap, Prescott’s Negotiations” in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.


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  1. I think Dak is being unreasonable. Top 5 money is “Getting Paid”. No way he deserves to be NFL’s highest paid. It’s his right to ask, but also he should be realistic. Hopefully Jerry won’t fold.

    • I see why a lot of Cowboys fans feel this way. However, I believe once we establish that the best quarterback doesn’t translate to the best-paid quarterback we can move on to how value is seen in the NFL’s market. I believe Dak isn’t an elite QB, but I believe he’s set to become the highest-paid QB in the NFL and rightfully so.

  2. I don’t think greedy Prescott has the leverage anymore with the addition of Dalton. Most pundits say Prescott is NOT top five, more like 9,10 range. He gets more buzz because of the Cowboy mystique.

    I hope he holds out, and Dalton shines as starter. That would be sweet justice for a greedy, self centered jerk. Imagine with current condition of millions of Americans having to deal with losing their jobs or worse, this greedy B turns down $35 million a year to play 16 football games. $106+ million GUARANTEED.

    Then we have these creeps on FOX and ESPN and NFL Network screaming “pay the man.”. We’ll pay the man what. What is the number. They don’t know. No one seems to know. But that doesn’t stop these imbeciles from their inane screaming.


    • I really believe Dak has the leverage and that Dalton doesn’t play a big role in changing that. After all, he can sign the franchise tag and negotiate in 2021. If he’s franchise-tagged then, he’ll get 37M. In 2022, franchise tagging him would cost 54M, which is not feasible. He has the leverage as long as he can get paid and get a short route to free agency, IMO. Thanks for reading!

  3. I think Dak Prescott should be paid but not top pay Dallas Cowboys are my team have been forever I think Dak Prescott is a top 10 quarterback not a top 5 quarterback do I think he’s worth 35 million yes 35 million a year with a hundred and ten guaranteed that’s a blessing from what he was getting before yeah I think you should take it but I think the way he thinks he has been a model citizen for Dallas Cowboys never been in trouble always did what he was supposed to do he tried to carry the team last year but it wasn’t all on him surface to the playoffs first couple years I’m not saying he’s a garbage quarterback I think he is a damn good quarterback and he’s just going to get better so I think you should go ahead and take the deal

  4. I have been a Dallas fan as long as there has been the Dallas Cowboys. I really like Dak. I believe he has a lot of attributes that makes him a successful QB for the team. I definitely believe he is worth a lot. I also think that the entire NFL is out of reality when it comes to the methods used to determine pay. The Cowboys need to pay Dak but I don’t think he deserves top 5 pay when he exhibited a “disappearance” of performance in 3 major games last year. Those games were the Jets, Patriots, and “forgettable” season ending Eagles game. He folded and there is no doubt about it. My opinion is that QB’s do well with a good OL. Dak had that when he inherited the position. The Cowboys cannot bankrupt the payroll guidelines to sign any QB for $35+ million. If Dak won’t take this offer (as we know it), and chooses to hold out, then the Cowboys should trade him to a team in the AFC. This won’t happen but the season is in jeopardy if he holds out. I know you take another position but I know many fans that feel the same way and that number grows everyday! I hope it all works out the right way!

  5. QB’s command far higher salaries than any other position. Consistently successful winning QB’s that get their teams into the playoffs regularly earn top pay (Pats, Saints, Chiefs). That has not been Dak. In an article by John Breech in February: “…quarterbacks with large cap hits almost never make it to the Super Bowl. As a matter of fact, over the past decade (2010-19), the quarterback with the largest cap hit each year didn’t even win a single playoff game.” Is Dak’s message that it is more important that he be paid than the Cowboys go to the playoffs? I was a big Dak fan and supporter but now I am just very confused regarding his intentions. It appears that he is putting himself above the team which is not what I would expect of a leader. BTW…there are not many NFL teams looking for a new $33M plus QB that can be a free agent next year or the year after. There is limited trade value.

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