We are getting very close to free agency and the Dallas Cowboys still have as much work to do as they did when the offseason began. It seems all but certain that Dallas is going to let cornerback Byron Jones walk in free agency, but they are clearly focused on keeping Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.
If there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place by the time free agency begins then the Cowboys could place the franchise and transition tags on both players (the former likely on Prescott and the latter on Cooper); however, if there is a new CBA there will only be one tag for teams to use and that will likely go to the quarterback.
Why is that the case? As we have talked about several times for what feels like forever, you cannot compete in the NFL without a quarterback. There are those that disagree, but the Cowboys seem to think that Prescott is among the top tier of signal-callers in the NFL, but the intricacies of the new CBA and what not have made paying him complicated.
Dallas reportedly offered Dak a deal that includes $105M guaranteed
When the first post-combine week began on Monday, reports started to swirl that the Cowboys had offered Dak Prescott a deal that paid him approximately $33M per season. That is a lot of money, but it would not make Dak the highest-paid quarterback in the game. Typically when a quarterback is paid, if he is franchise-caliber like Prescott is, he tries to top his peers.
When we talked about this, we noted that the guarantee would obviously need to be large for Dak’s team to accept a deal that didn’t place him at the top of the proverbial list. The Dallas Morning News reported on Friday that the Cowboys and Prescott have met again, and that the numbers that have been discussed include $33M annually and $105M guaranteed.
Cowboys officials have met with the agents of quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper a second time since the end of the NFL scouting combine, a source said.
For the first time in the offseason, team officials met with the two high-profile free agents at the NFL scouting combine last week. The Cowboys talked with Prescott’s agent, Todd France, either in person or by phone twice since the end of the 2019 season.
A source said the Cowboys offered Prescott an average salary of $33 million with a guaranteed contract of $105 million.
Financial proposals for Cooper are not known, but he’s seeking one of the largest contracts for a wide receiver.
The Cowboys and the agents for both players, are almost in a holding pattern awaiting for a potential new collective bargaining agreement to be concluded. NFL players are now voting on a possible new CBA and have until March 12 at 10:59 p.m. Dallas time to vote.
The DMN also reported that the Cowboys met with Amari Cooper again and that numbers for his potential contract are not known, but for what it’s worth he did say Thursday night on 105.3 The Fan that he wants to be a “Cowboy for life” if that makes you feel better.
Back to Prescott, there is no denying that $105M in guarantees is a lot of money. It is an extremely large amount of money; however, like the $33M annual value it is not at the top of Dak’s position group. It isn’t even in the top three.
There are four quarterbacks that make over $33M per year (Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Jared Goff, and Aaron Rodgers) and there are three quarterbacks that received over $105M in total guarantees on their last deals (Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Russell Wilson).
This offer appears to be low-balling Dak Prescott. He has unquestionably outplayed Jared Goff to this point in their careers, and there are certainly arguments to be made that he has outplayed his other fellow draftee in Carson Wentz.
This is obviously a situation where negotiating happens and the first offers aren’t what either side are ultimately willing to settle on, but it makes sense that we are at a standstill if this is the type of deal that Dallas is offering their quarterback.
Dak Prescott is going to make an exorbitant amount of money whenever he and the Cowboys ultimately agree to an extension. It is going to feel like a gigantic chunk of the team’s salary cap, but remember that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan “reset the market” by being the first quarterback to be paid $30M on an annual average value basis and that was just two years ago.
The salary cap will continue to rise and two years from now, or even as soon as Houston’s Deshaun Watson or Kansas City’s Pat Mahomes are paid, Dak’s number will look and feel all the more tolerable.
For now we continue to wait.