Dak Prescott signs exclusive franchise tag tender — is a long-term deal still in the works?
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott still don’t have a long-term contract hammered out, but they at least have a deal.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that the Cowboys QB planned to sign the exclusive franchise tag tender for the 2020 NFL season, and on Monday, Prescott did exactly that.
Cowboys officially have received Dak Prescott’s signed, $31.4 million exclusive franchise tender, per source.Article continues below ...
The two sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, otherwise one cannot he done until after this season. Clock running but Prescott under contract for 2020.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 22, 2020
Prescott then celebrated the best way a Cowboy can.
This doesn’t mean a long-term deal is off the table — both sides have until July 15 to work out a compromise. Instead, Prescott’s decision simply ensures he will not hold out from training camp.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport elaborated on Monday morning, explaining that part of the reason Prescott will sign the franchise tender is to guarantee himself a deal, considering players are still unclear on exactly how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect 2020 NFL season.
“So many players are now wondering about their future, about their security. Everything that we have heard is that the NFL is going to have a season in its entirety, but no one can say for 100 percent certainty that it is going to happen, which is why you’ve seen a lot of franchise tag players lock in their money by signing, whereas in previous years, they have not done so. Count Dak Prescott in that category.”
From NFL Now: If #Cowboys QB Dak Prescott signs his franchise tag soon, he'll lock in his money for 2020. But it's not an indication that the sides are close on an extension. It just means the virtual offseason ended and he'll be at camp on time. pic.twitter.com/4v8EKFykBo
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 22, 2020
Negotiations have been ongoing since Prescott became eligible for his second contract in early 2019 and reached a boiling point this offseason. There were reports in May that Prescott had turned down a five-year, $175 million deal from the Cowboys, but those were quickly debunked. Instead, the two sides seem to disagree on the number of years on a potential long-term contract.
According to the team side and Dak Prescott’s agent, the report (👇🏽) from @CSimmsQB is definitely not true. The two sides have never discussed such scenarios or anything like it. Dak wants a shorter deal, the #Cowboys want a longer one. July 15 is the deadline. https://t.co/yUgxcz5qcq
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 21, 2020
Prescott reportedly wants a four-year deal, allowing him to re-enter the market shortly after the NFL re-negotiates its current broadcast agreements that run through 2021 for Monday Night Football and 2022 for the other packages. Dallas, meanwhile, prefers the security of a fifth year on Prescott’s potential long-term contract.
While details of that $175 million offer were inaccurate, the Cowboys have reportedly offered Prescott a contract that would make him among the highest-paid players at his position. Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson will be the highest-paid QB in 2020 at $35 million, with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger set to make $34 million.
Highest-paid QB in terms of average annual value:
1. Russ Wilson: $35M
2. Ben Roethlisberger: $34M
T-3. Aaron Rodgers: $33.5M
T-3. Jared Goff: $33.5M
5. Kirk Cousins: $33M
6. Carson Wentz: $32M
7. Dak Prescott: $31.409M (franchise tag)
8. Matt Ryan: $30M
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 21, 2020
Prescott made a little over $2 million in 2019, the final season of his rookie contract, and has earned less than $5 million total for his career — so he’s in line for a hefty raise this season, regardless of what happens next. But could the two sides still work out a long-term deal over the next 24 days?
The NFL Network’s Jane Slater states that’s still the team’s goal:
The goal is still a long-term deal. The deadline to do that is July 15
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) June 21, 2020
And CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker reports talks between the two sides are expected to “reignite” in the next week or so:
“The Cowboys are going to make a very, very passionate push to get this done before July 15th so they can have their quarterback locked in for the future.”
Latest on Dak Prescott from @VoiceOfTheStar
• Expected Dak to sign the tender but surprised on the timing
• Nothing is imminent but both sides are CLOSE to a long-term deal
• Cowboys will make a push to get a deal done prior to July 15th pic.twitter.com/CmlwlcPddH
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 21, 2020
For our Skip Bayless, though, it makes more sense for his Cowboys to let Prescott play out this season and next on franchise tenders, which would pay him a total of $69.1 million over the two seasons, or an average annual value of $34.55 million.
Obviously, with Dak wanting $40+ mil a year, Jerry is leaning toward having him play under the tag this season (31.4 mil) and next (37.7). And obviously if Dak can lead Dallas to a SBowl victory in either year, THEN Jerry would be open to paying him more than Mahomes.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 21, 2020
Prescott’s value is perpetually a hot topic, and last season represented the best individual campaign of his four-year career. After passing for 3,885 yards and 22 TDs in 2018, Prescott threw for 4,902 yards in 2019 – second most in the NFL – and 30 TDs, good for fourth best in the league.
The only two QBs with more than 20 passing TDs outside the red zone since 2018
Patrick Mahomes – 30
Dak Prescott – 24 pic.twitter.com/0rFK4JPIV4
— PFF (@PFF) June 22, 2020
He was one of only three quarterbacks in the NFL to pass for over 300 yards per game (306.4) and his QBR of 70.2 was fourth best in the league. He also set a Cowboys record for most passing yards in a 2-game span in franchise history.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 17, 2019
Although Prescott played well, the Cowboys regressed.
After finishing above .500 in each of Dak’s first three seasons, winning two NFC East Division titles and making two playoff appearances in the process, the Cowboys finished 8-8 in 2019 and missed the postseason, with Prescott struggling against the best teams in the league.
Last season, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys were 1-6 against playoff teams and 7-2 against non-playoff teams.
Dak threw for an even 8 TD-8 Int in their games against playoff teams, and 22 TD-3 Int against non-playoff teams. pic.twitter.com/rgKSvkTJPC
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 20, 2020
And because of the way the NFL’s salary cap works, Prescott’s franchise tag deal would be the biggest salary cap hit for any team in the league — a fact that doesn’t necessarily bode well for the Cowboys.
With or without a new contract, Dak Prescott will have the highest Cap Hit of any QB this season.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) May 21, 2020
On Monday, the same day that Prescott plans to sign the franchise tender, Colin Cowherd discussed Dak’s contract situation in Dallas, comparing him to the current quarterback who essentially made playing under the franchise tag famous – Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins.
“He is the perfect ‘franchise tag quarterback,’ where it feels like he’s 12th or 15th best quarterback in the league … I’ve always felt the same about Dak – the things I like about him really aren’t the football things. His arm is average. He’s an athlete but not great … I thought to myself, ‘Let me get a [comparison] for Dak.’ … And there’s a really good comp: Kirk Cousins … Kirk Cousins was Dak … With both I feel the same way … There are old guys that are still better and there’s a bunch of young guys that look like they have higher ceilings. Do I wanna pay my guy top of the market, or near it, and he kinda feels like B? Not A … I like Dak more than Kirk, but not a ton more.”
"I would argue that Dak and Kirk Cousins are mostly the same guy…There's the same dilemma with both."@ColinCowherd reacts to report that Dak Prescott plans to sign franchise tag: pic.twitter.com/zEiaBXhUbx
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 22, 2020
Cousins played the 2016 season under the non-exclusive franchise tag in Washington, and then played the 2017 season under the exclusive franchise tag with the Redskins, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to play consecutive seasons under the tag.
Heading into the 2018 season, Cousins signed a 3-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings, worth $84 million.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) March 15, 2018
On the bright side for Cowboys supporters: Dallas has the sixth best odds to win the championship this season, per FOX Bet, and Dak’s squad is a -118 favorite to win the NFC East, followed by the Eagles (+140), Giants (+900) and Redskins (+1400).
But before the Cowboys can try to live up to those expectations, it sounds like both the team and Prescott will try to figure out how to make sure their relationship lasts quite a bit longer.
Stay tuned for more updates.