You might have heard something about the Cowboys getting some kind of free agent deal done. No biggie, just a massive contract with quarterback Dak Prescott. Today, the team and Prescott got together for a press conference to discuss the new deal, Prescott’s recovery from his ankle injury, and all manner of Cowboys-related matters.
Here’s a recap of what was said.
Jerry began the presser by extending congratulations to his franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott. He heaped a number of praises and also gave a tip of the hat to the franchise’s all-time greats at the position.
He noted that one of the easiest decisions that he has ever had to make during his involvement with the team has been to have Dak be the quarterback of the future.
Prescott noted that this has been something that he has been looking forward to and always thought would happen.
Why the deal took so long
Asked why the deal took so long and reached a point of difficulty (in terms of negotiating) Jerry Jones essentially praised Dak Prescott’s competitiveness. He talked about how every time that he has tried to get a bargain that generally those things have not been up to standard.
Jerry also said the process of getting here from Dak’s rookie deal involved him knowing that Dak wanted to be a part of the Cowboys. He said he also knew that Dak knew how good he fit with the Cowboys, although that he understood apprehension.
Jerry added that there have been things the team has needed to evaluate over the last 3-4 years and that about the time that he felt he had things figured out that Covid-19 happened. He said he has been a part of the NFL at a time when the league couldn’t pay its bills and that you have to look at the lay of the land as it evolves. He said that ambiguity led to some delay.
Dak Prescott said that he believes being a Dallas Cowboy can help your career in the NFL. He talked about how he builds his life off of the platform of the word faith. He noted that he has always controlled the things that he could control and focused on the things that he could focus on.
He said that he never had any doubt that the deal wouldn’t get done or that he wouldn’t be a Cowboy.
Dak talked about the injury he sustained last season and thanked Cowboys fans for their belief and support in him all throughout his rehab.
He noted that he’s healthy, getting close, and that he’ll be ready when it matters. Asked when he will be ready specifically Dak noted that he didn’t want to put a timeframe on anything but reiterated he would be ready when it matters.
He thanked Alex Smith because Prescott saw that he did it so Dak thought he could do it in overcoming injury.
The Prescott family
In the moments after news of Dak Prescott’s new deal was reported his brother Tad shared a photo of the two hugging and celebrating. Dak noted that in that moment he felt his late mother and brother and that it was all about everything that the Prescott family has experienced to this point and the optimism of where they are all going to be headed.
What pressure does the contract add?
Asked about how much pressure the new contract adds to him Dak Prescott said that pressure is privilege and that he is privileged to have it. He noted that he believes higher expectations create higher results and that he is excited to get to work.
Reaction from teammates
Prescott said that the general reaction from his teammates was that of excitement. He talked about the sense of reassurance that this has been done and that the overall sense of everyone is to go be better now.
Jerry Jones on television contracts
There has been a lot of speculation that Jerry Jones knew a lot about the pending television deals that the NFL has been negotiating and that his knowledge may have impacted the deal that his team made with Dak Prescott.
He sort of talked around the subject and ended up praising Dak Prescott. He did say that they were reading the tea leaves and that the fact they are here now celebrating this contract is an indication of where things are going.
The Cowboys platform
Prescott noted that something that he has always been thankful for has been the platform that playing for America’s Team has provided for him. He said that he is excited to continue to help and hopefully touch people’s lives thanks to the visibility that he has as the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
Struggles in 2020
Stephen Jones noted that the Cowboys obviously struggled a lot throughout this past season and that the way that it all unfolded was another thing that showed them how special Dak is. He said Coach McCarthy would talk to Dak during the season to get the pulse of the team and that the team leaders would also talk to Dak during the year. It showed them just how much Dak does for the team.
Stephen mentioned the team’s proverbial line about pie relative to the salary cap, but he did say that the right guy has the biggest piece. He said that when Dak was struggling this past season as a result of being injured that he wanted to be out there more than anything to help his team. He called Dak a special guy and said that it’s great to be his partner.
Processing the adversity
Asked what it was like to constantly hear debate and discussion about his worth over the last two years Dak Prescott noted that he constantly put it out of his mind.
He said that he didn’t allow it to be a conversation in his head and that he simply focused on getting better and winning. He noted he’s excited to get back to work.
Stephen and Jerry talked fixing the defense and the economics going forward
Training camp is headed to Oxnard and attendance should be back to normal. Jerry also believes attendance at games will be back this year but they will do it safely. He reiterated several times that these things would happen safely. He thinks that will allow them money to make moves in the future.
Stephen Jones did address fixing the defense and commended Todd France (Dak’s agent) for helping him in terms of designing a contract that allows the Cowboys to add the help that they believe they need. But Stephen also said they can get help on defense through the draft.
He added that you have to be open minded on drafting defense or that you don’t end up with someone like CeeDee Lamb, but added that with the resources they have they feel confident in the future.
Getting someone players will follow
Jerry Jones told a story about asking Roger Staubach for advice on a quarterback. He said they asked Mr. Staubach if they should get a scrambler or pocket-passer and that Roger said to simply get someone the players will follow.
Jerry made it clear that Dak Prescott is that type of quarterback.
Most important thing to Dak
Asked what was most important to him Dak Prescott said that he wanted something that was fair for him and the Dallas Cowboys.
He noted that money has never been an important factor for him and that he let people handle that part of the business. He said there were very little things that he cared for, but that they were important.
Altering playing style after the injury
Dak talked about how obviously there are certain moments in the future where he will be “a smarter player” and not use his physicality. He noted the difference between just a typical first down scramble or a redzone run and how you treat them differently and he needs to slide sometimes. He noted that the best ability is availability and that he has to be there for his team and that with this investment in him he needs to be smarter.
Stephen on injuries
Stephen said the biggest importance is availability, and that the biggest question on offense is getting Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Zack Martin back on offense. He noted they could be special on that side of the ball. In addressing the defense, Stephen noted they can’t say every draft pick will be on defense, but it is a good place to start. Also the Dak contract allows the team to improve on defense. Stephen finished by saying it’s hard to out-score teams and that they have to be better on defense.
Dak’s second surgery
Asked to elaborate about the second surgery that he had Dak noted that they wanted to do that from the start. He said that the idea is that 10-15 years from now he can operate free of any sort of residual damage from the original injury.
Dak was also asked about the state of the offense and all of the weaponry that the Cowboys seemingly have. He noted that the first thing is getting the culture right and that they have a lot of faith in themselves as a group.
What has Dak learned about himself?
Prescott was asked what he has learned about himself through all of this adversity and said that he has really only felt reassurance in foundational principles of his life. He noted that he wanted to continually control what he could control and that at the end of it it all worked out for him.
As they are the Dallas Cowboys this press conference also went a number of directions. This was technically the first time that team brass spoke since hiring defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Stephen Jones spoke glowingly of him.
Stephen said he believes the team has a lot of great players on defense and that there is a lot to work with there. He mentioned DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory and even Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore. He said he believes Quinn is going to get it out of them and put a system in where they can play hard, fast, and confident. He added that the front office needs to do a lot in terms of improving it, but added that Dak was correct in that the culture is extremely important.
Jerry Jones jumped in to say that he believes Dan Quinn has a great amount of experience. He said that they believe Quinn was absolutely perfect to come in and help them.
Dak added that he’s met Coach Quinn and that what he thought was most promising was hearing from other players (he mentioned Keith Smith) that have played for Dan Quinn.
Jerry then jumped back in and said that Mike McCarthy has explained some things about his desire to get some balance in with the team offensively and defensively. Jerry said that this is another reason why he is excited about the team’s future. He said the team has a great offense and that he is looking forward to the balance on the other side of the ball.
OTAs, spring work?
Dak said it would be huge to get that done. They missed that last year, and they want to do it this year to make themselves better.
Jerry commented that they did a great job with COVID in the NFL last year. He thinks they are in a better situation this year, and he thinks they will be aggressive as league, but that they will do it safely. He noted they have to be responsible and be an example, but show that they can do business safely.