With the NFL Players Association and NFL Management Council agreeing to extend the franchise/transition tag deadline to 11:59:59 a.m. ET Monday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, via a source informed of the decision, the Dallas Cowboys have a few additional days to sort things out with their star quarterback.
The deadline was set for Thursday at 4 p.m. ET after initially being pushed from March 10.
Negotiation rumors from both parties are showing Dak Prescott is most likely headed towards the franchise tag with his camp possibly opting for a shorter-term deal, while the Cowboys are looking to lock him up long term.
However, consenting to a short-term option may be the most beneficial thing for the organization.
A recent report surfaced that the Cowboys offered Prescott a deal worth $33 million per year with more than $100 million guaranteed on the table. The complete structure of the contract was not known, but it was not enough to get Prescott to sign, although the Cowboys thought they were close on an extension early last season.
ESPN’s Todd Archer wrote “the Cowboys are leaning toward using the exclusive franchise tag that would cost around $33 million to $34 million and prevent teams from making an offer, a final decision has not been made. The non-exclusive tag is expected to cost around $27 million, but a team could sign Prescott to an offer sheet that the Cowboys could match. If they don’t, they would receive two first-round picks in return.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 7, 2020
The Cowboys are sold on Prescott. So the question of if a deal will get done is meaningless. However, the question of if Prescott can guide the Cowboys to prosperity within their Super Bowl window is still in play?
We saw the Minnesota Vikings sign Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed contract in March of 2018. They believed he was the missing link after reaching the NFC championship the year before, but Cousins has been unable to will his team back to that point.
After his contract expires, the Vikings are projected to have $47 million in cap space next offseason.
Here’s where a similar deal could appease both Dallas and Prescott. In most deals of this magnitude, the guaranteed money is usually the main negotiating point.
In this case, Prescott wants to surpass Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, while Dallas wants to ensure they can spread that money out for as long as possible.
A shorter-term, fully-guaranteed contract for Prescott will raise his annual salary number, safeguard his contract and allow him to test the market again before the age of 30. It also allows him to renegotiate under new CBA terms that will for sure inflate the salary cap by then.
For the Cowboys, you’re accepting a three-to-four year Super Bowl window. If you make it a three-year deal, it will expire at the end of the 2023-24 season when the only names under contract will be La’el Collins, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott – building blocks to begin restocking for the future.
If Prescott doesn’t deliver within that window you have a chance to reassess where you stand on him heading the franchise moving forward.
Prescott had career highs in passing yards (4,902) and touchdown passes (30) in 2019. He has not missed a game in his career and has been named to the Pro Bowl twice.
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