NFL
July 26, 2020
BY Lance Cartelli

The Dallas Cowboys Will Regret Not Signing Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have a big problem — and his name is Dak Prescott. 

After failing to agree to terms with the Cowboys, Prescott will play out the 2020 season — if there is one — on the franchise tag. That means that the former Mississippi State signal-caller will pocket more than $31 million this year. And that figure could increase by 120% if Dallas decides to franchise him again in 2021, and a whopping 144% in 2022, putting Prescott’s future in Dallas in doubt. 

This all sounds pretty familiar for an NFC East franchise, right? 

Back in 2016 and 2017, the Washington R-words completely screwed up — shocking, right? — by franchise-tagging Kirk Cousins in back-to-back seasons which made him nearly impossible to re-sign. 

And for some reason, their division rivals are now going full-Washington — and you never want to go full-Washington — by allowing the same thing to happen with Prescott, a more talented quarterback. 

The Cowboys might already regret dragging their feet in negotiations with their superstar passer. Before the franchise tag negotiation deadline, the Cowboys reportedly made a last-ditch effort to strike a deal with Prescott to no avail. 

The Cowboys problems didn’t start this offseason, though. 

Dallas missed their opportunity on multiple occasions to get Prescott under contract on what would’ve been an extremely team-friendly deal.

Just last year, the Cowboys had a chance to sign Prescott to a pact that would look like an absolute steal today. Instead, they misplayed the situation and the Eagles and Rams drove up Prescott’s price with Carson Wentz and Jared Goff scoring big-money deals with their respective franchises. 

The Cowboys knew those contract extensions were coming, and they still stupidly decided to wait. 

We hate to break it to you, Cowboys fans, but quarterback deals are just going to keep going up from here. Mahomes, of course, already signed his massive $500 million deal and Deshaun Watson appears to be next. 

That’s music to Prescott’s ears and nails on the chalkboard for the Cowboys. 

You know what else will make his ears perk up? The amount of leverage Prescott possesses in these lucrative contract discussions. 

Copying Cousins’ playbook has set Prescott up to be the highest-paid NFL player in the league in the near future. 

It wouldn’t be a surprise that in a couple years, Prescott will have manipulated his way onto the free-agent market where he’ll sign a fully guaranteed contract — like Cousins did — except Prescott will make that deal, and probably Mahomes’, look like a bargain.

That’s the trick with these huge quarterback contracts. Once they’re signed, they turn into incredible values. Yes, even Patrick Mahomes’ $500 million deal will look like a steal as time quickly passes us by. 

Take Jimmy Garoppolo, for example. Back in 2018 when he signed a five-year, $137.5 million extension with the Niners, Jimmy G was the highest-paid player in the league, based on average annual salary. Just two years later, he’s now outside of the top 10. 

If the Cowboys just decided to pay Prescott a year ago, they’d have one of the top passers in the league on a team-friendly deal. 

This is all ignoring the fact that Prescott’s also really freaking good at the most vital position in professional sports. 

The talent around Prescott isn’t too bad, either. 

The ‘Boys have arguably the best offensive skill players in the league — especially after adding CeeDee Lamb in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Prescott, who was in the MVP discussions early last year, is primed for another career-year, especially since he’s perpetually in a contract year. 

Not only did Prescott transform into one of the premier passers in the league, but he also made the Cowboys his team. Before Prescott really emerged, it was Ezekiel Elliott who was lauded as the engine of the Cowboys’ offense. But as good as Zeke is, Prescott is better — and much more valuable. 

It’s too bad the Cowboys didn’t realize that when they decided to sign the most easily replaceable position player to a hefty contract instead of inking Prescott. 

Would the Cowboys rather have Prescott and Tony Pollard or Andy Dalton and Elliott? That seems like a no-brainer for the former.

For a team that has done a pretty damn good job of identifying talent and building their roster into a potential Super Bowl contender, they’ve seriously misread the market when it comes to quarterbacks. 

The 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year has continued to bet on himself, and it’s paid off handsomely for the soon-to-be 27 year old.

Unfortunately for America’s Team, not being able to secure Prescott’s services is something they could regret for a long time. 

Prescott’s price isn’t going down. And every day that the Cowboys don’t realize that is a day closer to him walking out the door. 

The Cowboys have backed themselves into a nearly no-win scenario. They’ll either lose their star quarterback to another team or they’ll pay him a lot more than they originally intended when they could’ve had him on a team-friendly pact. 

Sooner or later the Cowboys will realize that they screwed up, but will it be too late?

Photo: Getty Images / Lines.com Illustration