While it may feel like an eternity ago, one of the major storylines of the 2020 NFL offseason was Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys. In case you’ve forgotten, the quarterback and Jerry Jones couldn’t come to an agreement; Dak ultimately ended up signing a franchise tender and, of course, suffering a season-ending injury. Now that the campaign is done, though, the two sides can return to the negotiating table.
This year, though, things could work out a bit differently. Dak Prescott has the leverage now, and, according to a new prediction, he could score a pretty perfect contract this offseason.
Dak Prescott and Jerry Jones couldn’t agree on a new contract in 2020
During every negotiation, each side will always have at least one position they’re unwilling to compromise. For Dak Prescott and Jerry Jones, that turned out to be contract length.
According to reports, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to give their quarterback a deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 million per year over the course of five seasons. While there were rumors that Prescott wanted $40 million annually, it seems like raw salary wasn’t the issue.
Instead, the roadblock was contract length. The Cowboys wanted a longer-term deal, which would give them an extra season before presumably having to give Prescott a raise. Dak, on the other hand, wanted the contract to run for four seasons; in theory, that would allow him to hit free agency again during his prime and cash in with another massive payday.
At the end of the day, though, that disagreement proved to be too large. The two parties couldn’t come to an agreement, and Prescott played the 2020 campaign on a one-year franchise tender.
Jerry Jones doesn’t have the leverage anymore
It goes without saying that no one ever wants to suffer a season-ending injury. Dak Prescott’s ankle fracture, however, may have actually helped the quarterback at the negotiating table.
Without their starting quarterback, the Cowboys struggled; while they weren’t exactly world-beaters with Dak, the offense still looked better when he was under center. While Andy Dalton steadied the ship after returning from his own absence, he didn’t exactly prove that he’s the man to lead the franchise forward.
It’s also worth noting that this year’s free-agent class is pretty thin at quarterback. Even if Jerry Jones decides that he wants to chase some like Ryan Fitzpatrick of Cam Newton, those guys aren’t long-term solutions.
Jones himself even admitted that Prescott is negotiating from a position of strength this offseason.
“I don’t know how you could have any more leverage,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, according to ESPN. “His evolving into an NFL quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture. He has great ability, in my mind, to win games. He’s talented.”
Dak Prescott could score the perfect new contract, according to Pro Football Focus
With the 2020 regular season finished, Dak Prescott and Jerry Jones can officially return to the bargaining table. While there’s no indication that we’ll hear of a new contract anytime soon, Pro Football Focus does think that the quarterback will score a pretty perfect deal.
In their recent free-agent quarterback ratings, Prescott took the top spot. PFF also predicted that he’d sign a four-year, $158 million; that deal would theoretically be worth $39.5 million annually and include $115 million of guaranteed money.
That deal would be a pretty perfect outcome for Prescott. In addition to the finances—it would put him near the rumored $40 million mark and make him the league’s second-highest-paid quarterback in terms of annual salary—it also has the shorter term that the quarterback was after. A four-year contract would expire when Dak is 31, theoretically letting him sign at least one more big-money deal.
While Jerry Jones is always somewhat of a wild card—you can try to predict what he will and won’t do at your own risk—Pro Football Focus thinks that Dak Prescott will score a pretty perfect contract during this offseason. At this point, though, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.