Nothing is imminent and no new proposals have been swapped but there is growing optimism within the Dallas Cowboys organization that they can finally sign quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term contract extension.
According to a source, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones has had recent conversations with Prescott’s agent Todd France and both are of the mindset that they need to get a deal done.
While there is no sense of when something can get accomplished and no progress has been made, it clear that the Cowboys have no concerns about his recovery from a fractured ankle that ended his 2020 season after five games and are willing and ready to do a deal now.
Prescott is on schedule in his rehab, according to the source, and should be ready to go for the start of the 2021 season.
The Cowboys would like to do get a deal done before the March 9 franchise tag deadline. Prescott, who was tagged last year, would receive $37.7 million if he were to be tagged again. And the Cowboys would cetainly tag him if no deal were in place.
But they would need to clear some cap room to fit Prescott’s tag under cap.
According to NFL Players Association records, the team is roughly $17.5 million under the 2021 projected cap of $180 million.
Per the source, the Cowboys are still working through who they might target for contract restructures or out right releases to create cap room.
The primary focus is getting a deal done with Prescott first.
What remains to be seen is whether the positive feelings between Cowboys and Prescott’s agent will lead to a compromise in negotiations.
A difference of opinion in contract length led to an impasse last year, resulting in Prescott turning down a five-year offer worth roughly $35 million annually.
Prescott wants no more than four years and the Cowboys were dug in on five years to help manage the cap hit.
Stephen Jones readily admits that Prescott average annual salary will increase compared to the last offer, considering the $37.7 million franchise tag and new quarterback deals for Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (annual average of $45 million) and Houston’s DeShaun Watson ($39 million) have driven up the market.
Getting to the right number is one thing, compromising on the length is another.
One other difference is that last year the franchise tag was a chip the Cowboys had in their back pocket to secure Prescott’s services.
This time the franchise tag is a chip for Prescott in that it likely means he is one year away from unrestricted free agency.
A third tag, should it get to that, would cost a prohibitive $54 million in 2022.
But that’s a consternation for another time.
For now, the Cowboys are optimistic and hopeful about getting a deal done with Prescott — if not before March 9, then before the July 15 final deadline.
Time will tell.