If you thought the Cowboys would take a softer tone with Dak Prescott in contract negotiations after their star quarterback suffered a devastating broken/dislocated ankle only a week ago, think again. It appears in Jerry's world of wheeling and dealing, it's no holds barred even when your opponent is hobbling on one leg.
According to a report by Jason La Canfora, Jerry Jones is perfectly content to franchise tag Prescott once again this offseason, which seems as much of a threat as anything else. It would be the second year Prescott would play under the franchise tag, and while he would make more money in one year than he could spend in a prudent lifetime, he would once again be without the kind of long-term contract literally every other quarterback of his caliber has been given.
Last offseason, Prescott and the Cowboys engaged in prolonged contract negotiations that concluded with Prescott signing and playing under the franchise tag for $31.9 million. There were various reports about why the two sides couldn't agree to a long-term deal, but the most common centered around Prescott wanting fewer years on the deal so he could re-up again after the impending, increased television rights deals are signed.
Regardless of why they didn't get a deal done, Prescott became only the third quarterback to play a season under the franchise tag, joining Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins, who were tagged by the Chargers and Washington respectively. Neither wound up signing long-term with those franchises, which seemed foreboding for Prescott and the Cowboys.
Likewise, leaking this information comes across as another tactic the Cowboys intend to use as leverage. The Cowboys have all offseason to get a long-term deal done with Prescott and Jones and his family have consistently said they want Prescott to be their long-term starting quarterback. A long-term financial commitment is the only way to prove it, however.
The issue now is Patrick Mahomes signed an extension with the Chiefs that averages $45 million per year and Deshaun Watson signed an extension with the Texans that averages $39 million. There were reports Prescott wanted something in the $37 million average range last offseason, but considering he stacks up favorably in terms of production and accolades with Watson, that contract will likely be a base for new negotiations.
If the Cowboys hit Prescott with the franchise tag for a second year it would cost them around $38 million, so they already have that money allocated for 2021 if they're willing to tag him. But injuries like a compound fracture and dislocated ankle are the exact sort of things players fear when they play under the franchise tag with no guaranteed contract moving forward. Prescott is expected to fully recover for 2021, and because he plays quarterback and is so talented, there's no doubt he'll be well compensated in 2021 and beyond. But after that kind of injury, Prescott will likely want a long-term deal now, which sets up a potentially contentious second round of negotiation this offseason.