It’s been a busy week for the Jones’ working to get a Dak Prescott contract done before the franchise tag deadline, or has it? Multiple reports came out before Wednesday’s deadline that suggested that Prescott and the Cowboys front office members had little to no discussions in recent weeks. While there were some sources who said the two parties had talked, the majority of reporters, including the bigger name reporters, suggested all was quiet over the last few days/weeks. That is what makes the reports that came out on Friday so interesting.
Tom Pelissero went on Ian Rapoport’s podcast to discuss some Cowboys rumors, this is what he had to say:
“When you are on a franchise tag, the entire tag counts against the cap that season. In other words you could do… you’ve got a $50M signing bonus, you can prorate that over five years. And so you spread $10M, $10M, $10M, $10M on top of your base salaries and you keep the numbers lower. Dak, he’s chewing up $31.4M of the cap this year. If he’s tagged again next year it will be $37.6M or something like that. That’s a big number for any player, not in any way targeted Dak doesn’t deserve it.”
“But when you’re talking about the Cowboys, they have maintained interest in free agents. I can tell you that for a fact. Even during this unusual summer here they would like to still add another piece or two before the season, and not getting a deal done with Dak hampers their ability to be able to do that, especially if it’s a one-year deal on somebody who might be sitting out there because that player’s one-year deal would also all hit the cap this year, other than if you had those phony voidable years that a lot of teams don’t like to do.”
The last paragraph is what is extremely interesting because he’s obviously getting that information from someone in the Dallas front office. If the Cowboys are seriously looking to add more veteran pieces to their roster (something they haven’t really done this late in the last 5-7 years), they should have been more aggressive in getting a deal done with Prescott, instead of allowing him to eat up over $31.4 million dollars guaranteed on the 2020 cap. If a long-term deal had been worked out, Prescott’s 2020 cap-hit would likely have been closer to $20 million in 2020, instead of the $31.4 million guaranteed he’ll make.
Not only is that a bit strange, but Prescott has been on an extremely cheap-deal for the last four seasons, and in that four-year span, the Cowboys have often said they don’t want to build major parts of the roster via free agency. If the Cowboys really wanted to go shopping, they needed to complete a deal with Prescott.
As Cowboys fans, we should all hope that the Jones’ are going to use free agency more aggressively in the future, but the timing of doing so is very odd, and the lack of aggressiveness to get a long-term deal done to open up some cap-space in 2020 is a massive head-scratcher. They still have ways to open up space, and if they really wanted to add a quality player or two before camp they can certainly find ways to make it happen. It certainly would have been easier with a Dak deal.