Cowboys, Dak Prescott contract talks

As the wait for quarterback Dak Prescott‘s upcoming contract with the Dallas Cowboys extends into a second decade … wait, has it not been that long? It sure seems that way.

The Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott in March, which means he will make at least $31.4 million in salary in 2020. But, the hope from Prescott’s camp and the Cowboys has been they will work out a long-term agreement, though discussions have not picked up in intensity in recent weeks.

The next important date to remember is July 15. Without a long-term contract signed by that date, Prescott will have to play on the tag throughout the 2020 season and cannot sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys until after the season ends.

With most live sports on a hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, talks between the Cowboys and Prescott’s agent, Todd France, have been analyzed by fans and media with a zeal not often seen during the normal sports news cycle.

Trenches have been dug in the debate that seem laughable when there are statistics and evidence to back up the fact that Prescott has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL since taking over the Cowboys’ offense in 2016.

Theories have emerged as to why the Cowboys have not struck a deal yet. Let’s examine some of the most discussed narratives:

Theory: Cowboys don’t believe Prescott is a top QB

The Cowboys have an offer that, according to sources, would make Prescott the second-highest-paid NFL quarterback in terms of average per year. That figure would fall behind Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who makes $35 million a season and received guaranteed money that is on par with Jared Goff‘s $110 million guarantee from the Los Angeles Rams.

If the Cowboys did not believe in Prescott, would they have made that kind of offer? If they did not believe in Prescott, would they have placed the exclusive franchise tag on him, which prevented other teams from making Prescott an offer? If they did not believe in Prescott, wouldn’t they have at least thought about going after a top free agent, like, say, Tom Brady?

The Cowboys went through a long quarterback winter from the time Troy Aikman retired in 2001 to the time Tony Romo took over in 2006. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, and executive vice president Stephen Jones, know the difficulty of finding and keeping franchise quarterbacks. Prescott, who was selected No. 135 overall in the 2016 draft, has a 40-24 record as a starter, took the Cowboys to the playoffs twice, won a postseason game and is coming off career highs in passing yards (4,902) and touchdown passes (30).

Verdict: What wouldn’t the Cowboys like about Prescott?

Theory: Dallas waited too long to try to sign Prescott

NFL rules prevented the Cowboys from signing Prescott to a contract extension until after his third season (2018). As soon as they could, the Joneses said repeatedly Prescott was their No. 1 priority to sign long term.

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