It has not even been two years since the Dallas Cowboys made quarterback Dak Prescott the highest-paid player in franchise history, and here we are again, talking about a new deal for him.
To be clear the discussions surrounding Dak Prescott and his contract status this offseason are different than they were in 2020 and/or 2021. Prescott is still under contract for two more seasons with the Cowboys, but the team is facing a reality where his cap hit for this season is going to balloon to over $49M. Next year it will be even higher at $52.1M.
This is obviously not a shock for the Cowboys as they specifically designed Prescott’s contract this way when they wrote it up two years ago. It has long been the presumption that Dallas would extend Prescott in the 2023 offseason with the sole purpose of creating salary cap room in the way that they have done with other cornerstone players.
It appears that we are well on track for that.
Stephen Jones says the Cowboys ultimately ‘have to have a plan’ to extend Dak Prescott
The NFL Combine is this week which means NFL dignitaries will be behind microphones and in front of cameras offering up some important information. We have not heard the Cowboys brain-trust speak publicly in some time so hearing their thoughts on a number of things will be important.
Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones spoke with ESPN’s Todd Archer in the lead-up to the combine and offered thoughts on a variety of things. Notably among Stephen’s comments was that the Cowboys ‘have’ to have a plan in place to extend quarterback Dak Prescott.
Prescott is set to count $49.2 million against the 2023 salary cap. He is signed through 2024. If the Cowboys restructure Prescott’s contract this year, they can create up to $22 million in cap space. With an extension, they could create even more room.
“We’ve got to have a plan to ultimately extend Dak,” Jones said.
While this has been the assumed next step for the Cowboys for some time now, this is the first time that Stephen Jones (or any Cowboys official) has said something as matter-of-fact as this. Stephen is effectively saying that the Cowboys will be extending Prescott this offseason.
The main pro associated with extending Dak in the here and now is the salary cap space that can be created which we all want to see the team use for the purposes of surrounding the quarterback with more talent (a cause many of his teammates have rallied around this offseason). One con to extending Dak now is that the team ties themselves to him even longer and there are some people who feel like the team should look to move on if he doesn’t deliver big in the playoffs soon.
It appears that the Cowboys do see this offseason as one where they will “build around” Dak so to speak. Stephen also said in the conversation with Archer that the team has to add a playmaker to the offense.
Jones believes the Cowboys have a high-level defense highlighted by coordinator Dan Quinn, edge player Micah Parsons, cornerback Trevon Diggs and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. On offense, they have questions either through the cap or free agency that they have to answer, with the likes of running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, tackle Tyron Smith and tight end Dalton Schultz.
“Offensively, we’ve just got to have, maybe add a playmaker to it,” Jones said. “Add a little juice. Add a playmaker to it and see if we can do that.”
Two of the names listed as far as players that have been on the Cowboys roster are running back Tony Pollard and tight end Dalton Schultz. Both Pollard and Schultz are on expiring contracts although the former is on his rookie deal and the latter was on last year’s franchise tag.
The Cowboys, like every team in the NFL, have about a week left to place the franchise tag on a player for this year if they want to do so. Stephen indicated that the Cowboys may indeed wind up using it and Pollard is obviously the player that makes the most sense.
Stephen Jones wouldn’t get into the Cowboys' upcoming decisions regarding Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, but said of the franchise tag, “We’re not afraid of the tag. End of the day we’ll probably use it again this year.” Pollard is prime candidate at a cost of $10.1 million.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) February 27, 2023
The next few days will bring some interesting nuggets. Stay tuned.