Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
The Dallas Cowboys reportedly aren’t sweating quarterback Dak Prescott’s contract situation ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler appeared on SportsCenter on Saturday and said that while the Cowboys are willing to go right up to the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term contracts, they are prepared for Prescott to play under the franchise tag if need be:
“I’m told the Cowboys are not worried right now. They’re going to play this all the way up to the deadline and they’re hopeful that Dak Prescott will take their latest, best offer. Whether that’s a new offer at the deadline or their old offer because they didn’t hash anything out a few months ago. It’s been very quiet since then, to the point where several league sources believe that nothing’s going to get done here because Dak already signed his franchise tag tender. It’s maybe conceding that nothing’s going to get done, but the Cowboys feel they’re in a good spot. They’re prepared for him to play under the franchise tag if necessary. Dak wants almost a bulletproof contract, solid four-year structure.”
Prescott has signed his franchise tender, meaning he will play under a one-year, $31.409 million contract in 2020 if a new contract isn’t agreed upon.
NFL teams have until Wednesday to agree to long-term deals with franchised players. If the Cowboys and Prescott can’t come to terms by then, Dak will have the opportunity to become a free agent again next offseason.
Although the Cowboys disappointed last year and missed the playoffs after going just 8-8, Prescott enjoyed the most productive individual season of his career.
He completed 65.1 percent of his passes for a career-high 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns to go along with 11 interceptions. Prescott also rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns as part of a Cowboys offense that ranked first in the NFL in total yardage.
Prescott was named a Pro Bowler and led the Cowboys to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons, although running back Ezekiel Elliott was given much of the credit for that success. Elliott was great again last season, but the offense ran through Dak more than ever before.
Despite the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year’s progression, the Cowboys have been unable to come to terms on a deal with him. Prescott has instead had to sit and watch while several of his teammates, including Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and offensive tackle La’el Collins signed new deals.
It isn’t yet a certainty that Prescott is an elite NFL quarterback since the playoff success hasn’t been there yet, but his age (26) and production dictate that he is going to receive a massive contract in the near future.
Even if Prescott and the Cowboys don’t come to terms before Wednesday’s deadline, the up-and-coming quarterback is in a good spot given the talent around him.
Elliott and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are returning, plus Dallas selected former University of Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. With such an embarrassment of riches, Prescott should put up big numbers again in 2020 provided he can stay healthy.
If Prescott does build upon the stats he piled up last season, the Cowboys will likely have no choice but to give in and make Dak one of the highest-paid quarterbacks of all time. But if they opt against doing so, some other NFL team will likely be willing to step up given how difficult it is to find franchise signal-callers.