The Dallas Cowboys have not won the Super Bowl in 25 years and have only three postseason victories since 1996 – all in the wild card round.
So ask yourself a question: Why would the Cowboys think anyone is worth a contract averaging more than $33 million with $105 million guaranteed?
That’s the question cynical minds have pondered throughout the entirety of the prolonged contract dance between quarterback Dak Prescott and the team.
But there is an even bigger question on the table: Why hasn’t Prescott signed the deal and what is he looking for if this Cowboys offer is not appealing enough?
Time is getting short for both sides. The deadline to use the franchise tag is Thursday and the Cowboys are trying to beat it by sending Prescott’s agent a proposal that would serve as a starting point to hammering out a deal.
If you ask us, Prescott is one of the most overrated QBs in the league and committing this kind of money to him, when there are so many other needs the Cowboys must attend to, is reckless.
By now, you’d admit this tug-of-war has become tiresome.
Just two weeks ago at the NFL combine, the Cowboys held an impromptu meeting inside the team’s luxury bus with Prescott’s agent, Todd France.
“Don’t make anything of that, one way or another,” Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said of the meeting. “That’s not what counts. [What counts is] when you decide it’s time to make it work.”
The conversation was considered productive, especially since the two sides had not formally talked about Prescott’s new deal since the start of the 2019 season. That’s when Prescott turned up his nose at a deal that would have made him one of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks.
It’s clear Prescott considers himself one of the league’s premier QBs. And because of it, he is asking for money commensurate with that made by Russell Wilson ($35 million), Ben Roethlisberger ($34 million) and Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers ($33.5).
The contract Prescott now has on the table would exceed what Rodgers makes in both total ($134 million) and guaranteed money ($80 million). Wilson just signed a four-year, $140 million contract which included $107 million guaranteed.
But is Prescott really at that level? He is not a game-changer, the type of player who immediately makes his team a viable Super Bowl contender.
Despite being surrounded by one of the league’s top offensive lines, halfback Zeke Elliott and a talented receiving corps, Prescott hasn’t produced any significant victories for his team since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2016.
Prescott had career highs in passing yards (4,902) and touchdown passes (30) in 2019. But after starting the season 3-0, the Cowboys faltered badly and finished the season 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
If the sides don’t reach a deal by Thursday, you can expect the Cowboys to place what’s called an exclusive franchise tag on Prescott that would cost them approximately $34 million in 2020 but would prevent other teams from making an offer.
If the Cowboys decide to attach the non-exclusive tag on Prescott, it will cost them only $27 million. But another team could sign Prescott to an offer sheet the Cowboys would have to match. If they don’t, they’d receive two first-round picks in compensation.
The non-exclusive franchise tag is the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years. The exclusive tag is the average of the top five salaries for the current year.
This non-exclusive tag seems smarter than committing the big money to Prescott now. This way, the Cowboys and new coach, Mike McCarthy, would have the 2020 season to think again about whether they are compatible.
Although McCarthy has said he values Prescott and considers him a winner, it could turn out the coach has an entirely different opinion about things after working with him. And if McCarthy isn’t satisfied, the Cowboys will be stuck with albatross it will take years to recover from.
Here’s the problem: If the Cowboys hit Prescott with one of the two franchise tags, its possible he could show his disfavor by refusing to attend voluntary off-season practices, which would cost him valuable time getting to know McCarthy’s new system.
“It’s not a concern of mine,” Jones said at the combine. “Dak understands, in my mind, one of the great things about Dak is his commitment to building a team. I don’t have an issue there. That’s just the reality of the thing.”
In our estimation, Prescott would be doing a Cowboys a favor by not signing a long-term deal. Let some other team worry about it.