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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott contract still the one move that needs to be settled

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NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What fans need to know about Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys - Staff, Dallas Morning News

A few updates on the ever-captivating contract process...

Negotiating window open

The Cowboys’ season came to an end Jan. 3 after a 23-19 defeat at the New York Giants. With the loss, the negotiating window for a franchise-tagged Prescott reopened.

The sides remain hopeful an extension can be reached this time around. However, an additional (and more expensive) franchise tag is again available in 2021 for the Cowboys to use should they not come to an agreement.

More from The News’ Michael Gehlken: “Due to decreased revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 salary cap that will be lower than initially expected. Dallas plans to franchise tag Prescott a second time if no extension is reached by March. This $37.69 million tag would present a burden around which to build a 53-man roster. ... All $37.69 million would count against the 2021 cap.

“The Cowboys hope to lock up Prescott before mid-March. If forced to tag him again, they’d have another few months to reach an extension before the 2021 embargo comes in the summer.”

The Cowboys don’t have a Dak Prescott dilemma this offseason - Tyrone Starr, The Landry Hat

Put this one in the pro-Dak column.

The fact is that there is no such dilemma. Dak Prescott should be and will be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. If this team is smart, he’ll hold that position far beyond just the next season.

If you want to make an argument opposing that position, that’s your prerogative. Just know that argument holds little water if any at all.

First and foremost, no team in their right mind would allow a 27-year old superstar at the game’s most important position to just walk out the door for nothing. It is rare that quarterbacks with the skill and age of Prescott even hit the free market. Those who reside in the upper echelon of the position almost never actually change teams. There is a reason for that.

The next reason there is no Dak dilemma is that all it takes is one quick look around the landscape of the league to realize how good the Dallas Cowboys truly have it with Prescott. Three teams in the top ten of the draft will likely choose a quarterback.

Top potential trade destinations for Matthew Stafford - Jeff Risdon, Lions Wire via Yahoo Sports

You knew that the Cowboys would show up on this list.

The Dallas Cowboys now have another alternative if they choose to move on from pending free agent Dak Prescott, who is coming off a serious injury. Stafford is a Texas native and has the type of physical arm talent that has made Cowboys owner Jerry Jones weak in the knees before. Stafford’s salary with bonuses comes cheaper than what it would take for the Cowboys to use the franchise tag on Prescott once again, and Stafford is fully healthy relative to the younger Prescott. The Cowboys have some wide receiver depth (Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper) that could sweeten the pot along with their No. 10 overall draft pick in any deal with Detroit.

Dallas Cowboys: Trade WR Michael Gallup for CB Stephon Gilmore? - Reid Hanson, Sport DFW

As long as we are making trades, here’s another.

In this situation, both teams would be dealing from a position of strength in order to improve a position of weakness. And both teams would be moving an expiring asset they’re unlikely to re-sign anyway.

The Dallas Cowboys adore Michael Gallup and have no reason to force a trade with him unless it significantly helps the franchise. Adding a top-flight NFL cornerback like Stephon Gilmore would accomplish just that. And Dallas is much more likely to re-sign a CB like Gilmore than they are to re-sign Gallup.

New England has Gilmore under contract for a price of roughly $17 million this year. If Dallas can sign Dak Prescott long-term they can move Dak’s money to the backend and afford to digest Gilmore’s money straight-up. Or they could extend Gilmore right away and push Gilmore’s money back a bit. Either way, the money situation is workable.

Despite all of the trade talk surrounding Gilmore, the Pats don’t NEED to do anything with their disgruntled vet. They also have a budding young star cornerback in Jonathan Jones who was ranked by PFF last year as the fifth best in the NFL. Not to mention they have a glaring need to add a receiver or four this offseason.

25 years after the Cowboys’ last NFC Championship Game appearance, it’s official: Dallas is a postseason afterthought - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

A caution to hold off our constant hopes for “next year.”

The Cowboys haven’t been horrible. Far from it. Look at the regular-season record over the last 15 years, and Green Bay, Seattle and New Orleans are the only teams in the conference with more victories.

This team continually puts itself in the mix during the regular season only to quickly disappear. Which leads to another issue.

Mike McCarthy is the franchise’s sixth head coach since it last found itself standing in late January. He hasn’t been around long enough to take the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. It turns out only one coach has done that in the last 25 years.

It wasn’t Jason Garrett. It wasn’t Wade Phillips. It wasn’t even the revered Bill Parcells.

It was Chan Gailey.

This is a root issue that doesn’t receive enough attention. A big part of the reason the Cowboys have been unable to advance past the divisional round is they don’t go to the playoffs year in and year out. It’s harder to build on success or break through when you take every other year off.

Remember when the franchise was known as “Next Year’s Champions?’’

The Cowboys have fallen into a pattern of becoming “Next Year’s Wild Card Team.’’

ESPN Predicts Cowboys Will Make 2021 NFL Playoffs - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star

Others though, say that this “next year” is THE next year:

ESPN Staff Writer Bill Barnwell on the Cowboy’s outlook for next season.

“The Cowboys should be healthier in 2021, and we saw their offense’s upside while Prescott was in the lineup. They have the highest upside of any team in the division, and if they can fix the secondary this offseason, their ceiling might be as Super Bowl contenders. Of course, as we saw in 2020, few teams seem better at getting in their own way or creating their own problems.

“Prescott hadn’t ever missed a game before his freak injury, so if we expect him to play something close to a full season in 2021, the Cowboys should be in good shape to win their division.”

Troy Aikman Was Diagnosed With Cancer While Still Playing With the Cowboys But Kept it Relatively Quiet for Nearly Two Decades - Luke Norris,

Another reason to cement Aikman’s place amongst the greats.

In 1998, Troy Aikman was getting out of the shower and noticed a dark spot on the back of his shoulder that he’d never seen before. He didn’t think too much of it initially but during a family trip to Hawaii a couple of weeks later, he asked his sisters, both of whom are nurses, about it and they recommended he get it checked out as soon as possible.

Aikman went to the dermatologist a short time later and was told he had stage two melanoma. Luckily, it was discovered before the cancer had gotten a chance to spread and he was able to avoid radiation or chemotherapy but his doctors told him just how serious things could have gotten and that he needed to take better precautions while out in the sun, the same advice Aikman has been giving people for the last few years now.

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