We are a few weeks away from July 15th which is significant for the Dallas Cowboys because it is the deadline for them to get a long-term contract done with their quarterback, Dak Prescott. It was reported this past Sunday that Dak is expected to sign his franchise tender on Monday, and while that is significant, it doesn’t change that July 15th is still the day.
The Cowboys clearly want to get a long-term deal done with him and have until the middle of July to do so or they will be going at all of this with him again in a contract year again.
Paying a quarterback is both complicated and easy. It is difficult in that you have to fork over a lot of money, and nobody wants to do that. Where this whole idea is rather simple is in the acceptance of it all. Each new quarterback to get paid is going to (assuming he is a franchise-level quarterback like Dak Prescott) get paid something commensurate with the top deal, and the deal for the most recent signal-caller paid is going to impact things greatly for the next one. This is why people wanted to see the Cowboys pay Dak a year ago because the deals for Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Russell Wilson are all now factors.
Here in 2020 there are a few more quarterbacks eligible for new deals, and if they happened to get them done before Prescott signs his, then they will impact Dak’s deal.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson reportedly wants a three-year extension
Where Dak Prescott is different from his draft-mates Jared Goff and Carson Wentz is that he was not a first-round selection. Both Goff and Wentz had fifth-year options on their rookie contracts that their teams picked up, and seeing as how 2020 is their fifth year in the NFL, the extensions that those two signed last year do not even truly begin until the 2021 season.
In thatat sense Dak Prescott is always going to (from the perspective of free agency) be a year ahead of them. Goff and Wentz both signed four-year extensions last year but because they don’t begin until 2021 they run through 2024. If Dak were to sign a four-year extension now in 2020 he would hit free agency a year before both Goff and Wentz which is one of the impasses that his representation and the Cowboys are at odds over.
Earlier we mentioned that there are new quarterbacks that could also get extensions done before Dak Prescott gets his done. As both Deshaun Watson and Pat Mahomes have completed three years of NFL play they can now get their big-time contracts. Nobody is going to touch Pat Mahomes for a long time given his unbelievable success with a Super Bowl win, and Super Bowl MVP, at this point in his career, but his deal will still be a rising tide for all boats. Nobody will top him, but the market will still raise overall.
Deshaun Watson is definitely far more comparable to Dak Prescott so him getting a deal with the Houston Texans before Dak got his with the Cowboys could make matters all the more complicated. What’s more is that it is being reported that Deshaun Watson wants a three-year extension with the Texans.
Per a league source, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is seeking a three-year extension of his own rookie deal, which expires after the 2021 season.
If that’s what the Texans do, the deal would put the 12th pick in the 2017 draft under contract for five total years, getting him in position for a third contract by the end of the 2024 season, with the possibility of the franchise tag for 2025 and, in theory, 2026.
Watson was a first-round pick in 2017 so Houston has, at minimum, two more years of team control over his contract. Him signing a three-year extension would give them five in total before any sort of franchise tag situation could come into play.
While the “overall deal” could be viewed as one of a five-year variety the reality is that it would still technically be a three-year extension if this came to be. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are at odds over an extension that would be for four or five years, injecting the variable of three into the equation would make the Cowboys asking for five from their quarterback all the more unreasonable given that there would be market precedent for even less than four.
The Cowboys had an opportunity to get Dak Prescott at more of a bargain (comparatively speaking) if they had gotten their deal done with him last year. By waiting longer the team has seen the price for quarterbacks rise not just in terms of annual average value but in the overall length of the deal. If they allow the Texans and Deshaun Watson to beat them with a potential three-year deal then that “price” will only rise more.
It is likely that Deshaun Watson’s representation will wait to see what happens with Dak Prescott and the Cowboys given that they have a deadline while Watson does not. Still though the Cowboys continue to flirt with a bit of disaster here, time is undoubtedly of the essence.