The dance known as negotiations is currently ongoing with the Dallas Cowboys and their franchise signal-caller Dak Prescott. Since before the 2019 season, the two sides have been trying to get a long-term deal done. Those efforts were almost successful back in September after Prescott came out guns blazing in the first three games.
According to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the talks fell apart when Prescott “upped his asking price.”
Per Hill, Prescott wants a contract that would pay him at least 35 million per year, putting him on even ground with the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback Russell Wilson.
Prescott took a chance on himself and it paid off in 2019 with a spectacular year. His 4,902 yards (2nd in the NFL) and 30 touchdowns (4th in the NFL) set career high’s in both categories as the Cowboys produced the league’s top-ranked offense.
Earlier this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said the team hasn’t spoken with Prescott’s representation since September when he reportedly turned down a contract that would pay him 33 million a year annually.
“It just kind of stopped. We kind of left it where it was,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I wouldn’t say there was anything acrimonious. I guess they felt they were done where they were. We felt like we were where we were. We never really got going again.”
This would make you believe there’s some real friction between both parties, correct? Well, if you pay close attention, it shouldn’t at all.
Later on, Jones would express supreme confidence that Prescott is the Cowboy’s future at the quarterback position, and also silenced any notion that the organization will move on from him if a new deal isn’t inked before the new franchise tag deadline of March 12th.
“Absolutely not. Dak is our quarterback,” Jones said. “He’s our quarterback for the future and we have nothing but the greatest respect for him. He’s a competitor. He’s won a lot of football games for us. Obviously, he, like us, all want to take to that next step and get into a championship game and get to the big game and ultimately win a championship.”
So what does this tell us? It’s true that no new deal has been brought to the table since September, so Jones isn’t lying when he says they haven’t talked to Prescott’s agent in that sense. However, what we hear and what goes on behind the scenes are two different things. Negotiations are still ongoing, but neither side is going to reveal how they’re moving in these talks for a new deal, it’s chess, not checkers.
If anything, people can go back no further than last summer to put their minds at ease. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott was absent during training camp and the preseason due to a holdout over a new deal as he trained in Cabo. Adding fuel to the fire, was the now-infamous “Zeke Who?” comment by team owner Jerry Jones back in August.
However, both Elliott and the organization never lost sight of the big picture even during the negotiation process, and that was the fact that they each wanted to reach a long-term deal, despite what was being reported to the masses. The end result was Elliott signing a six-year 90 million dollar extension literally days before the season started. Deadlines make deals and this particular negotiation was an example of that.
The same rules apply to the Prescott situation. The franchise tag deadline is two weeks away and will be here before you know it. Also, the NFL Combine is where a lot of I’s get dotted and T’s get crossed during contract talks. The franchise tag is still a possibility and will be used if need be, although both sides don’t want that to be the case, as a holdout would likely follow, something they just experienced with the aforementioned Elliott.
Whatever the case may be, long-term deal or a tag situation, Prescott and the Cowboys are headed for a marriage that will last a long time. This is just the game of negotiations and all the details will be ironed out in due time. Jerry Jones said it best back in November when the subject of Prescott’s contract came up.
“I’m not known as a guy who gets hand cramps when I’m writing checks,” Jones said.
Now, we sit and we wait. Remember, it’s chess, not checkers.