Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys just can’t seem to get on the same page. For months, the team has tried to work out a long-term deal with the star quarterback. Yet, as June approaches, Prescott still hasn’t put pen to paper. And now, his $31.4 million franchise tag number represents a massive roadblock to the Cowboys trading for New York Jets safety Jamal Adams.
Dak Prescott’s contract status
Cowboys fans have endured months of speculation about their star signal-caller. Yet, a resolution still hasn’t happened. Prescott has turned down several offers from Jerry Jones. Before the 2019 season, he rejected a lucrative deal and ended up setting career-highs in passing yards and touchdowns. He then turned down an offer that would have paid him $33 million per season. Dallas responded by placing the franchise tag on Prescott to ensure he didn’t bolt for greener pastures.
However, the 26-year-old still hasn’t come to terms with Jones and the Cowboys on a contract. Recently, the two-time Pro Bowler reportedly turned down a massive $175 million offer. The five-year deal would make Prescott the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history, which doesn’t exactly match up with his on-field production.
It’s important to take that $175 million figure with a grain of salt. That number came from Chris Simms of NBC Sports, who doesn’t have the best track record in terms of accurate reporting. Other reporters have shot down the rumor, but either way, the Cowboys still haven’t figured out how to lock up their franchise quarterback.
Cowboys don’t have cap space to trade for Jamal Adams
The Cowboys would get a big boost by trading for Jamal Adams, who has quickly become one of the top safeties in football. However, Dallas has a serious hurdle to overcome: Prescott’s contract. While it seems crazy to think that he’ll likely become the highest-paid player ever, the fact is that Dallas can’t afford to bring in Adams without addressing Prescott’s $31.4 million cap hit. That’s the downside of utilizing the franchise tag on a quarterback.
According to Spotrac, the Cowboys have just north of $4.1 million in salary-cap space. Besides Prescott, Dallas has five other players with cap hits of at least $10 million in 2020. That includes a whopping $21.9 million for defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and $10.9 million for Ezekiel Elliott. Wideout Amari Cooper carries a $12 million cap hit after signing a huge contract extension earlier this offseason.
Currently, Adams has a cap hit of $7.1 million in the final year of his rookie deal. His fifth-year option checks in at nearly $10 million. The multi-dimensional defensive back obviously wants a long-term deal himself. Eddie Jackson leads all safeties with an average annual salary of $14.6 million, which Adams will eventually surpass.
Will Jerry Jones be able to lock up Prescott and acquire Adams?
If the Cowboys plan on acquiring Jamal Adams, they first have to handle their $31.4 million roadblock. By signing Dak Prescott to a lengthy extension, they can lower his 2020 cap hit and create much-needed financial flexibility to then pursue a trade with the Jets.
At the same time, don’t overlook the incredibly high price for the All-Pro safety. Trading multiple high-round picks and then having to hand out a record-setting extension may give Jerry Jones second thoughts about seriously pursuing Adams.
At the end of the day, Jones is 77 years old and hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1996. He has the opportunity to make two premier players long-term fixtures in Dallas. However, it’ll take some smart economics to turn that dream into a reality. For now, though, the Cowboys can’t make a legitimate run at Jamal Adams until they get a deal done with Dak Prescott to lower his massive 2020 cap hit.