We are getting a bit deeper into the month of March and soon enough there is going to be action within the National Football League happening in every direction. This month will bring free agency which is generally an exercise that the Dallas Cowboys have observed like a wallflower before trying to find bargains. Before all of that begins America’s Team is going to be forced to make a decision one way or another and it will have to do with the most important player on their team in Dak Prescott.
Prescott is entering the offseason as a pending free agent for the second year in a row. In 2020 the Cowboys avoided this situation by placing the franchise tag on their franchise quarterback and have the right to do so again here in 2021.
A second straight franchise tag would cost the Cowboys $37.7M in the here and now. While it seems unlikely that this would the case, the team could always choose not to tag him.
There are actually three ways that this could turn out this week. Here is a refresher.
Option 1: The Dallas Cowboys place the franchise tag on Dak Prescott
If you are measuring likelihoods for this week the most probable thing to happen between Dak Prescott and the Cowboys is without question a second straight tag.
Should the Cowboys indeed tag Dak we will constantly hear the term “placeholder” said and reports that the team is doing this simply to buy time before July 15th’s mega deadline (if the Cowboys don’t have a long-term deal in place with Dak by then he will have to play out the season on the tag like last year).
Tagging Dak for a second straight year would effectively give him what amounted to as a two-year deal worth $69.1M that was fully guaranteed. Of course this value could change if the Cowboys did ultimately sign him to an extension as the tag would no longer be Dak’s contract for the 2021 season.
Option 2: The Dallas Cowboys sign Dak Prescott to a long-term extension
This option is the hope of many Cowboys fans, but it doesn’t feel all too likely entering the week.
At present time the only way in which the Cowboys could avoid the tag for Prescott and assure that he is on their team moving forward is to finally lock him down by way of an extension. Reports all throughout last week centered around the idea that talks between the team and Prescott’s camp were of the positive variety which is encouraging, but that hardly means the ball is going to get across the proverbial goal line.
The Cowboys and Dak Prescott have been trying to come to terms for over two years now. It seems unlikely that they will manage to accomplish what has evaded them in less than two days, but anything is possible.
Option 3: The Dallas Cowboys choose not to tag Dak Prescott
We live in an NFL that often sees impossible things become possible so this is worth mentioning, but it is without question extremely unlikely.
It is possible - in a literal sense - that when Tuesday’s deadline rolls around that the Dallas Cowboys choose not to place the franchise tag on Dak Prescott at all. It would certainly be bold to say the least.
Why wouldn’t the Cowboys tag Dak, you ask? Perhaps they don’t believe in who he will be as a quarterback moving forward, or perhaps they simply want to let him test the market in free agency to prove what they believe. Who knows? It is merely a possibility in the world of all possible outcomes.
For what it’s worth it’s hard to envision the Cowboys going down this path without a proper plan in place. Perhaps they would legitimately be in on Russell Wilson (who listed the Cowboys among teams he would be willing to play for if he is traded by the Seattle Seahawks) or someone else. This idea would be risky, but this whole process has been full of risk.