Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the future for the Dallas Cowboys, right? I mean we all know that a contract extension is coming, and that the holdup to this point is all part of the chess match that comes with these types of negotiations. When push comes to shove, the front office always comes through with a last-second signing that keeps their star in a Cowboys uniform. So, why would we even consider entertaining such an absurd scenario as mentioned in the title of this article?
Well, because we are thorough, and sometimes we like to think outside the box a little in helping us expect the unexpected. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Cowboys are no strangers to surprises. They have chosen to not re-sign the franchise’s single-season rushing leader if the asking price is more than what they’re willing to pay. They will cut the team’s all-time leader in touchdown catches and eat the dead money hit if they believe it will benefit them long term. And they will even release the franchises all-time sack leader who is a future Hall of Famer and beloved gold-star character person if they believe the cost just doesn’t match up to the returns. In the words of any NFL GM, it’s just business.
The Cowboys have made some bold moves, no doubt. And we are all privy to the super frugal ways of Stephen Jones and how meticulously he manages his salary cap. But those factors don’t mean that Prescott’s future in Dallas is really in question, right. I mean, this is the team’s franchise quarterback we are talking about and as we know - they don’t come easy.
The Cowboys have done a great job shoring up the depth at the quarterback position in recent weeks. They signed a reliable veteran in Andy Dalton for super cheap and they drafted a development guy in Ben DiNucci to keep in their pocket. These are not moves to replace Dak, but rather keep the team afloat should Prescott be unavailable for any reason. And by unavailable, we assume injury and not anything related to an absence from a contract dispute.
The fact does remain that a contract with Prescott has not been done yet. While many of us expect a deal to happen soon, what if it doesn’t? And when you consider Stephen Jones’ latest comments, he’s certainly putting a bug in people’s ear that it’s a possibility.
“we’ve tried to pay him, and he has to accept what we want to pay him.” - Stephen Jones
Does he though?
Dak has a say in this. He and his agent understand that there are multiple teams out there who are willing to pay top dollar to get their hands on a proven commodity such as Prescott. It’s not likely he’ll settle for a dollar amount that is not comparable to his market value price just because Jones has his own ceiling of what Prescott is worth.
But Jones is not being facetious with his words. He’s done his homework and he knows the numbers behind this type of decision.
“There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, that it decreases your chances to win. We are just trying to figure out the right fit.”
What if things don’t fit? If both sides are holding firm and they are too far apart from reaching an agreement, then what? It is hard to imagine a scenario where Prescott, who has career football earnings one-third of the size as the team’s long-snapper, would turn down $31.4 million in some type of Le’Veon Bell holdout situation. If team Prescott did take such a powerful stand, then the test of “just how important is Dak to this team” would be underway as Dalton would inherit the most favorable situation he’s had in his entire career. Such a decision would also create a huge riff in Cowboys Nation and into the locker room. A line would be drawn in the sand as some would view the ownership snubbing one of the team’s most beloved leaders, while others would question how much does Dak have to earn to keep him happy. It would get ugly.
Instead, what is more likely to happen in this type of standoff is that we would see Prescott begrudgingly sign the tag, and once again be playing in a contract year. The table would be set for him to have a huge season with so many great weapons around him, ultimately costing the Cowboys even more money to keep him. If Stephen Jones isn’t budging, this could lead to one giant mess. This Cowboys team is set up so well for the future where the only thing that could mess it up is if the team puts themselves in a situation where they become one of the “have nots” when it comes to the quarterback position. Just like his father before him, does Stephen think he can outsmart the system and produce a winning football team his own way?
Again, we are way outside-the-box thinking on this as it’s almost inconceivable to think the Cowboys plan of success features anything other than Prescott at quarterback. But if there is a crack in all of this, it could be Jones’ unyielding ways of not paying top dollar for things he doesn’t believe are worth the price.