Dak Prescott's impending new deal has been a talking point since the summer of 2019. As no agreement has been reached between Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, it remains a talking point.
Former Cowboy Emmitt Smith chimed in to the discussion yesterday, saying Prescott should give the team a discount because he can make up the difference in salary with the public attention and endorsements that working for the NFL's most famous franchise provides. Shannon Sharpe disagrees, to say the least.
He waxed poetic on how the owners (and, to an extent, Tom Brady) have managed to convince fans that a player is selfish if he doesn't take a discount to help out the team. Skip Bayless argued how much money Prescott makes directly affects the salary cap, which therefore directly affects Prescott, but Sharpe insisted that Prescott needs to worry about himself first and foremost:
"Billionaires have convinced their fans that if a player does not give me a discount, he doesn't care about winning. All he cares about is himself, and the fans have bought in... Dak Prescott is a business. It's not his job to worry about what the Cowboys do," said Sharpe.
"What part of the Cowboys belong to Dak? I'd let Jerry Jones worry about the business side of it... Dak Prescott would be a 'D' fool to give Jerry Jones, who's worth that kind of money, a discount. Maximize it. Because if you get hurt, then what, Skip Bayless? Then what?"
Dallas will indeed be in dire cap straits if they give Prescott a market-setting deal, as the rumors indicate Prescott is requesting. They already have five guys who have a cap hit of over $10 million before signing Prescott or fellow free-agent-to-be Amari Cooper. It's difficult to add talent via trade or free agency right now, much less when those deals are signed.
But, as Sharpe said, Prescott isn't the Cowboys. He's been perhaps the best contract in the league over the last four years, giving Dallas average-to-above-average quarterback play while making less than a million dollars a year until this season, when he made a whopping $2.03 million.
Prescott threw 30 touchdowns this year, good for fourth in the league, sandwiched between Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz. Wilson made $35 million this year and Wentz will make $15 million next year. Touchdown passes aren't equivalent to the quality of the quarterback, but Prescott was comfortably a top-10 QB in the league last year by most metrics and made less money than all of them, including quarterbacks on rookie contracts like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson.
Prescott deserves his money. That isn't a question. How much money he'll get will be determined by how much he values his earnings over, ultimately, a marginal competitive advantage given how tight Dallas' cap sheet is even without his contract. Sharpe thinks it's time to get his due.