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The July 15 deadline has officially passed, and Dak Prescott still doesn’t have a long-term contract. Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t agree to terms before 4 p.m. ET, so the quarterback will play in 2020 under his $31.4 million franchise tag.

With Prescott’s future up in the air and a massive cap hit looming, it’s surprising Jerry Jones didn’t do everything possible to sign his QB now. It turns out the two sides couldn’t reach a deal because of one seemingly minor disagreement.

Dak Prescott fails to sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys

After months of drama and back and forth negotiations, Dak Prescott’s contract talks finally sputtered to a halt Wednesday. Prescott and the Cowboys failed to agree to a contract extension by the July 15 deadline, meaning the QB will play the upcoming season under his exclusive franchise tag.

For Prescott, it’s not all that bad. He gets a guaranteed $31.4 million in his pocket and a chance to play his way into a massive contract. If he can put up another Pro Bowl season and a deep playoff run, Jerry Jones will have no choice but to open his checkbook in 2021.

But with that possible reward comes a calculated risk for Prescott. If he suffers a major injury or his play declines significantly in 2020, his future value will deteriorate. Signing a long-term deal prior to the season would’ve erased all the risk.

Alas, the two sides were too stubborn to find a compromise, and the 2020 season now becomes the most important of Prescott’s young career.

Prescott and the Cowboys couldn’t agree on the length of his contract

What’s the difference between a four-year contract and a five-year contract? Yes, the answer is obvious, but how much of a difference is it really? Apparently enough to completely dismantle negotiations between the two sides.

For months, Prescott has been adamant that he wants a four-year deal for around $35 million a year. The Cowboys seem to be OK with that price tag, but they want Prescott locked in for five years instead.

Evidently, the disconnect on contract length was enough for both sides to watch the deadline come and go. You would think Dallas would want to get a deal done as soon as possible, even if that meant giving up one year of leverage.

Prescott not wanting to budge off four years also begs the question — how committed is he to the franchise for the long haul? If he doesn’t want to commit to five years, does he already have one foot out the door?

Prescott has the leverage in contract talks moving forward


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The Cowboys, not Prescott, should be the discouraged side after failing to reach a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline. If Prescott holds serve for the next few years, he can make a record amount of money.

Prescott’s franchise tag is worth $31.4 million in 2020, but it would jump to $37.7 million next season. If he gets it again in 2022 the tag would be worth a massive $54.3 million. Prescott can franchise tag his way to never-before-seen riches in the NFL if he wants.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are under immense pressure to sign Prescott to a reasonable deal before his second or third franchise tag kicks in. They should’ve made it a priority to sign their franchise QB before the 2020 season, even if it meant conceding one year.

One single season might be the reason Dallas either torches their future cap space or loses their franchise QB all together.