The season ended last week for the Dallas Cowboys which means the only thing that they are, and will be, focusing on for the foreseeable future is, in fact, that future. Signing free agents, retaining some of their own and bringing in others, along with preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft, will take up a majority of time over the next few months.
One of the biggest priorities for the Cowboys this offseason is going to be taking care of their quarterback Dak Prescott by way of a long-term extension. This will be the third offseason in a row that Dak has been eligible for a new deal and the Cowboys have come up dry in each of the two instances before.
What’s more is that not only have the Cowboys not gotten a deal done with their guy, but they have watched other teams take care of their signal-callers. We are well past Prescott’s draftmates getting extensions and this year there is a whole new crop of quarterbacks that are seemingly going to get paid.
The Cowboys are yet again going to be in a quarterback extension race this offseason
Two years ago the Cowboys were first able to hand Dak Prescott a long-term contract. They ultimately didn’t and things have only been more complicated since then.
Dallas was in a race at the time with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles who were both first able to sign their quarterbacks (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz) as well since they were drafted in 2016 along with Dak Prescott. Before the season began, the Cowboys saw both LA and Philly lock up their guys (the Wentz deal obviously did not work out), but they are far from the only quarterbacks that have gotten paid.
Goff got $33.5M per year from the Rams while Wentz was handed $32M per year from the Eagles. This was the price then, but that was in 2019 when things were much cheaper than they are now (if only it had been known then that the price only goes up...). These were not the only two quarterbacks to get paid since Prescott first became eligible by the way, a number of others have as well.
Quarterbacks to get long-term extensions since Dak Prescott was first eligible (APY)
- Jared Goff...................... $33.5M
- Carson Wentz................ $32M
- Ben Roethlisberger........ $34M
- Russell Wilson................ $35M
- Kirk Cousins................... $33M
- Ryan Tannehill................ $29.5M
- Deshaun Watson............ $39M
- Patrick Mahomes............ $45M
Every single one of these deals save for Ryan Tannehill (which was a unique situation in Tennessee) has raised the overall market value of the quarterback position in the NFL. It stands to reason that a floor of sorts for Dak from an APY standpoint is going to be $40M (again, this is market rate). Had the Cowboys been able to properly anticipate this two years ago they would potentially have been able to save as much as $8M per year. That obviously did not happen.
The Cowboys have been eligible to negotiate with Dak since their season ended in Week 17 against the New York Giants and hopefully they are taking proper advantage of the opportunity. The thing is that they need to rather quickly because there are new contract-eligible quarterbacks who will all be looking to get paid this season.
Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Baker Mayfield were all drafted in 2018 (incidentally at AT&T Stadium of all places) which means that they are eligible for new deals this offseason. They all also happened to pick up the first playoff wins of their respective careers during the Super Wildcard Weekend.
It was reported on Saturday morning that the Buffalo Bills are going to hopefully begin those talks with Allen over the offseason, and with Lamar Jackson already having an MVP on his résumé the forward-thinking Baltimore Ravens are likely going to want to get a jump on things as well. Baker Mayfield surely won’t be far behind.
Those are three more opportunities for the Cowboys to see the number grow that they are ultimately going to have to pay Dak. Time is and has been of the essence and it would serve the Cowboys well to get a move on things.
Let’s hope that they do. Or else they’ll be the ones to pay. Literally.