How Dak Prescott’s contract immediately impacts the Cowboys’ cap, free agency, draft - Jon Machota, The Athletic
The Cowboys made news on Monday by finally agreeing with Dak Prescott on a long-term contract, which included the most amount of guaranteed money in NFL history. But what does this mean for the Cowboys’ cap space, which will affect their strategies in the draft and free agency going forward?
[The cap] looks significantly better than it did 24 hours ago. Instead of having Prescott on the books for $37.7 million for the upcoming season, which it would have been if he had been playing under a second franchise tag, he will now count for only $22.2 million. This is because a new deal allows the Cowboys to spread his cap hit over the duration of the contract. That’s particularly good news in a year when the cap is being reduced to between $180 million and $185 million following the loss in revenue during the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Including Prescott’s new deal, the Cowboys are about $1 million over a projected $180.5 million cap, according to Over the Cap. They can easily get under that number and have enough room to add help via free agency by restructuring two or three long-term contracts, most likely the ones belonging to wide receiver Amari Cooper and right guard Zack Martin. The Cowboys restructured the contracts of Martin, Tyron Smith and DeMarcus Lawrence last year to create an additional $26.6 million in cap space.
As is often the case with quarterback contracts, Dak Prescott’s deal was immediately criticized for being too much money for a whole host of reasons. However, the fine details of the deal are actually really favorable for the Cowboys.
First of all, the $126 million is guaranteed over the first three years. If Dak should bomb, the Cowboys could get out after the 2023 season for $26.4 million in dead money. But again, as I constantly remind, when you marry yourself to one of these franchise-type quarterback deals, divorce is expensive.
Here is another way to look at this entire contract. If you add Dak’s $31.4 million tag from last year to his current four-year, $160 million deal, that comes to five years, $191.4 million, or an average of $38.8 million a year, so right about the going rate for one of these top quarterbacks.
Or how about doing this for the frugal type on what’s the Cowboys’ cost for Prescott’s consistently high level of play? Add what Dak made in 2019 to that above total, all of $2.025 million, coming to now $193.425 million, and divide that out by six years. That would mean the Cowboys are spending an average of $32.23 million a year on what they project as top quarterback play. Not bad, huh?
However you slice it, they both come out ahead.
After contract win, Cowboys’ Dak Prescott could earn more money than any player in NFL history - Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports
Dak Prescott spent the first four years of his career playing at a very high level despite being one of the lowest-paid quarterbacks - starting or not - during that time. Now, Prescott is in position to make more money than any player in NFL history.
What sets Prescott apart from those players is his next window into extension negotiations, which should in theory take place after the third year of this deal (following the 2023 season). That period is considered significant because it will take place in the midst of a massive financial windfall of NFL revenues that will include a new television deal and what is expected to be expansive earnings related to gambling revenues skyrocketing over the next decade.
Any way you calculate it, it’s a landslide of a win for Prescott and his camp, which has been angling for an upper-level quarterback deal for the past two years, with their leverage exponentially increasing with each passing offseason. Now it has led Prescott to a remarkably lucrative intersection of spiking increases on the league’s quarterback pay scale and a robust financial future for the NFL that will drive free agent prices even higher in the the next decade. And it all comes in the time frame when Prescott and his camp desired: Inside a four-year deal rather than the five or six years of control that Dallas initially desired.
Prescott is on pace to sign as many as two more extensions inside this decade, given his chosen frame of four years of control. If that wasn’t enough, Prescott also has a powerful no-trade clause in this deal, along with Dallas having to franchise Prescott this week while it works out the details of this extension (which will count as Prescott’s second tag and virtually guarantee he can never be tagged again by any team in the future)
When you parse all of that out, Prescott won the money, control, freedom and years that he was looking for. Maybe the only thing he didn’t get was the ownership rights to the “D” in Dallas.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys both gained a lot from the contract extension and were obvious winners, but there were also losers in this deal. Specifically, the teams that now have to play against him twice a year for the next four years.
The rest of the NFC East: With Prescott locked up, Dallas is now the only team in the division with stability under center. Sure, Washington was able to ride what’s become an elite defense and patchwork QB play to the 2020 NFC East crown. But a healthy Prescott, who didn’t face the WFT last season – when the Cowboys finished a game out of first despite losing their biggest star in Week 5 – definitely changes the equation.
Russell Wilson: The unhappy Seattle Seahawks quarterback with the no-trade clause on his $35-million-per-year deal would have been willing to accept a (very far-fetched) deal to the Cowboys, per ESPN. Oh well. All signs point to Russ cooking in the Pacific Northwest once again.
Prescott: Wait, what? The good news for Prescott is that he got paid. The bad news for Prescott is that he got paid. He won’t be crippling the Cowboys’ cap in 2020 and probably not relatively so in future years. But he’s also no longer the fourth-round flier made good, thriving on a cheap rookie deal and allowing Jones to stockpile veteran talent around him. As Wilson learned, when you get the big checks, your supporting cast suddenly isn’t so supportive because the club can only invest so much in it. At least Wilson has a ring. Prescott is 1-2 in two playoff appearances but will now definitely be expected to do what predecessor Tony Romo couldn’t: End what’s become a Super Bowl drought of a quarter century for the NFL’s most high-profile team. Good luck with those questions, Dak.
Did Cowboys’ deal with Dak Prescott tip off gargantuan broadcast partnership between NFL and Amazon? - Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports
Teams all around the NFL are experiencing the stresses of the (expected) salary cap reduction this season, but there is optimism that a broadcast partnership with Amazon could be on the horizon. To that end, Jerry Jones’ willingness to pay out big bucks to Dak Prescott may have signaled that such a deal is close to becoming official.
With the NFL on the verge of its next television rights package, did Jerry wave a white flag in the Prescott negotiations because he knows where the league’s revenues are going? Could the reported $100 billion in television rights packages be a reality? Are the NFL’s forecasts about gambling-related revenues that promising? And could this be a sign of a long-anticipated partnership between the league and “The Big A”?
“There goes [Jerry’s] Amazon money,” one NFL general manager said half-jokingly late Monday night, after hearing Prescott’s overall contract numbers.
Longtime NFL agent David Canter put a finer point on it, responding to a tweet about Prescott now being positioned to eventually be one of the highest earning players in league history. “Strong point here is what does Jerry know about the TV deals and [money] coming. He’s obviously intimately involved and this deal reflects his knowledge and how big the new TV [money] will be,” Canter tweeted.
Canter wasn’t alone. Multiple agents shared similar sentiments, most revolving around the belief that the NFL is putting the finishing touches on its TV rights deals and also been able to draw up some new revenue models that reflect ancillary income related to the slowly loosening state regulations involving the gaming industry. The widely held belief among many league and union insiders is that the NFL’s next wave of television deals and new revenue streams relating to gaming will propel the NFL beyond the $25 billion per year revenue goal that commissioner Roger Goodell laid out in 2010.
Speaking of money, Ron’Dell Carter received the most guaranteed money of any undrafted free agent the Cowboys signed last year. After the Colts poached him off the practice squad, Dallas brought him back towards the end of the year. On Tuesday, they tendered the exclusive-rights free agent, ensuring Carter will be back in 2021.
The Cowboys wanted undrafted free agent Ron’Dell Carter so badly last spring that they guaranteed him $145,000, including a $20,000 signing bonus.
Now, the Cowboys are intent on keeping Carter.
The team is tendering the defensive lineman as an exclusive rights free agent, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports.
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