The Dallas Cowboys are making progress in their contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott, team owner Jerry Jones tells us in an exclusive interview.
"We're gonna take our future and bet it on Dak,'' Jones said of the organizational plan.
The Cowboys are very open about their plans for making the Prescott the highest-paid player in team history, which obviously means more than $65 million guaranteed given to defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. The idea that the annual number -- with a long-term contract that includes "escape hatches'' -- will be in the range of $30 million is hardly a secret, either.
"I do (feel confident about getting a deal done),'' said Jones, who earlier this week told Michael Irvin about feeling "emboldened'' to forge a lucrative deal. "Here's a guy who's had three seasons, and we've watched him under some duress, and we've watched him and seen where he can improve, and watched him improve. And (we have) evaluated whether he's got a chance to get better. They all have to, at this juncture, three years in, be getting better. There has got to be a prospect of them being better. Dak has that.''
Jones, speaking while overseeing the Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony for the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Dallas, a project to which Jerry and Gene Jones have committed $7.5 million, continues to make it clear the Cowboys believe they are mining gold with Prescott. That view came into being quickly after "discovering'' him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and the view has been solidified by watching him help guide the team to two division titles and 32 wins over the last three years.
Jones thinks Prescott compares to anybody as a leader, a winner and a building block.
"For example,'' Jones told us, "if Dak were in this draft, where would we have picked him? If we'd have had the No. 1 pick in the draft?''
The insinuation is that Dallas -- knowing what it knows now -- would have made Prescott the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
"We,'' Jones said with emphasis, "feel that strongly about him.''
As much as Cowboys Nation argues about "Jerry the GM'' or about some decision made in the draft or about some comment he makes on the radio, the generosity when it comes to paying players should not be overlooked. There is a salary cap to be observed. Jerry acknowledges that.
But Dallas is going to make Dak Prescott as the highest-paid Cowboy ever ... and Jones is very comfortable with that "future bet.''
By Mike Fisher