Dak Prescott will play the 2020 NFL season on a franchise tag for the Dallas Cowboys. He'll make just north of $31 million for his troubles. It's a much-deserved raise for the former fourth-round pick, who has given Dallas top-15 quarterback production while only making $3.65 million over the course of four seasons.
Despite discussing a potential contract extension with the Cowboys since last summer, Prescott was unable to come to a long-term deal with the Jones family. It didn't even really come down to the wire from all reports. Once the two sides engaged over this offseason, it became clear by June that they were too far apart, and Prescott signed his tag before the deadline on July 15.
Peter King was on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday morning to discuss a host of NFL topics, not the least of which was the Prescott-Cowboys negotiations. He is of the mind that Dallas made a big mistake not signing Prescott to an extension before the 2019 season, pointing out that a quarterback like Prescott's price point has never dropped after one season.
The Cowboys probably agree to an extent, seeing as hindsight is 20/20 and all that. But their decision to let the season play out without signing Prescott was not universally criticized as a poor decision. Prescott occupies a unique area of NFL quarterbacking where his floor is higher than many starters but he won't consistently play at a top-five level. The Cowboys let him bet on himself for 2019, and he put together a great season.
Reports suggest the holdup with a new deal was over the number of years rather than the dollars and cents, but part of the risk that comes along with letting a player like Prescott play out the last year of his deal is that they prove they deserve even more money than initially discussed. Jerry Jones doesn't want to go through with the final step of paying the man. Next offseason's negotiating period will look extremely different from this one due to the economic implications of COVID-19 on the salary cap, as King notes in the segment above.
Dallas' options were limited this time last year: Sign Prescott to a long-term deal, or sign him the following year while taking his 2019 performance into consideration. They're trying to toe the line now, and that rarely works out. King's declaration is likely close to the truth, but it's hard to say for certain until March 2021 gets here and the negotiation war begins anew.