On March 8th, 2021, the Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with Dak Prescott. We can now rest easy knowing this team is hanging on to their young star quarterback.
Cowboys are giving Dak Prescott a four-year, $160 million deal, including a record $126 million guaranteed, source tells ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2021
The first three years average $42 million per year.
Gone are any notions that the front office led by it’s wild card owner Jerry Jones would go a different direction at quarterback. It also eliminates four months of anxiousness as we sit through another July deadline had the team resorted to placing a second franchise tag on him (without an imminent contract waiting).
While we can now throw dirt on all of that, we still can’t help asking ourselves - why did it have to take so long?
Well, the simple answer is that each side had their own set of expectations, and it wasn’t until now that both sides are getting what they want. Prescott is set to make $40 million a year, making him the second-highest paid quarterback in the league, trailing only Patrick Mahomes. Not only that, but 78% of that $160 million is fully guaranteed. That’s a huge bag of money for Prescott.
But Prescott isn’t the only big winner in all of this. Despite all the criticism the front office has received for dragging this ordeal out, they’re actually getting what they wanted as well - the length.
Last year, the biggest point of contention was the length of the contract. Dak wanted four years and the Cowboys wanted five. After playing under the tag last season, the Cowboys are actually getting those five years after all. Soon, the cap will be rising once those lucrative TV deals get done, and it’s just a matter of time when the market price for a good quarterback will skyrocket. Players like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Kyler Murray are all approaching big paydays, and when one of those guys signs a second contract that teeters on the cusp of $50 million annually, the Cowboys deal with Prescott is going to look like a bargain.
The real meat there is that Prescott’s cap percentage will continue to shrink, opening up more financial resources for the team to do other things. Even though they’ll have made a large investment into the quarterback position, the front office will still have plenty of pie left for others. And if you’re trying to build a championship football team, that pie is pretty important.
The biggest risk the front office has inherited is if somehow Prescott suddenly starts underperforming. With so much guaranteed money, the team went all-in on Dak. Good or bad, they’re stuck with him, at least financially.
Of course, Prescott’s stock is still on the rise, and we have yet to see what he can do with a healthy offensive line combined with a the weaponry of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup for a full 16 games. Oh, and guess what? Kellen Moore didn’t leave to go coach Boise State. So, Dak also gets his young offensive coordinator (where the duo is averaging 444 yards per game) with another year of experience. That ought to be fun.
The deal also comes with a no-trade clause, so this will forever separate him from his 2016 draft class buddies Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, because unlike the teams that drafted them, the Cowboys aren’t hitting the reset button at quarterback. Dak’s still their guy.
This is a win-win for the Cowboys and Dak Prescott, but there's a third winner in all of this too - COWBOYS FANS WHO BELIEVE IN DAK.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) March 9, 2021
That no-trade clause just means 4 is here for the long haul. https://t.co/EGIXAPafD4
A couple months ago, this article outlined four reasons why the front office was handling the Prescott contract situation correctly. Extending that length, getting year-one cap relief (in a reduced-cap year), and ensuring they have a great player are all big wins for the Cowboys front office. While we may still scoff at this whole thing taking so long, those reasons played a huge part in making sure this deal got done right.
If Prescott continues on the path he’s going and sustains this level of play throughout the duration of the contract, the Cowboys front office may have ended up making one of their best financial investments in team history.