The Dallas Cowboys were unable to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term contract before the deadline Wednesday. Thus, Prescott will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag.
But let’s get something straight: the Cowboys are not moving on from Prescott after the season.
“I don’t understand the people on Twitter who [think that],” CBS Sports senior NFL writer Will Brinson said on Tiki & Tierney. “I understand when people say, ‘Dak didn’t sign this deal. He’s running the risk of being hurt or playing poorly.’ I guess. Dak Prescott has played every game in his [career]. I think he’s missed one practice in his career. He’s not afraid of contact, but I think he’s sort of Russell Wilson-ish in terms of he knows when to avoid it, he knows when to slide, he has a great pocket presence, he knows when to take off – he just doesn’t take a ton of hits in the pocket or out when he’s running the football.”
In other words, Prescott is taking a risk, but all things considered, it’s a relatively small one.
“I’m not worried about Dak Prescott getting hurt – and even if he did get hurt, it would need to be like an Alex Smith-level injury, in my opinion, for him to hurt his market value,” Brinson said. “The way that medicine works in 2020, if you tear your ACL in the second half of the season as a young quarterback, you’re still getting paid in the offseason. People aren’t going to be scared to sign you.”
The Cowboys can renegotiate with Prescott in 2021. If they are unable to reach a long-term deal at that point, well, they can try again in 2022.
“They’re using the second tag on him next year,” Brinson said. “They’re not going to tag him once and let him go. Anybody who suggests otherwise is insane. I think the bigger concern is 2022. The tag will come up to around [$37.7 million] next year with the 20-percent raise, but then it’s a 144 percent raise on top of that, which is like $54 million. I just don’t know that in 2022 the Cowboys can justify having a $54 million cap charge.
“So I think 2021 is a no-brainer,” Brinson continued. “He’s going to be a Cowboy for at least two more seasons. The question is how does Dak look this season?”
The Cowboys obviously want Prescott to play well, but if he does, it’s going to cost them a boatload of money if they sign him to a long-term deal.
“If he plays like he did last year or the Cowboys win a Super Bowl or something like that, they are going to have to dole out a massive contract,” Brinson said. “It’s very silly to me that Dallas allowed it to get this far. If they had signed him last offseason, they could have gotten him for $29 million a year probably. If you sign him before Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, you get him on the cheap and it looks like one of the best deals in football. Instead you waited and waited and signed Zeke Elliott for $90 million, and now you are in a real precarious situation with your star quarterback.”