NFL

Dak Prescott’s Reported $45 Million Demand Is Less Outrageous Than It Sounds

While there’s been plenty of quarterback movement this spring, Dak Prescott is still trapped in limbo. In March, the Dallas Cowboys slapped the franchise tag on the young signal-caller; he’s yet to sign the deal, though, and hasn’t been taking part in the team’s virtual offseason programming. After months in the holding pattern, however, we may have a tiny glimpse behind the curtain.

Based on everything we know, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have been unable to compromise on the term of the next contract. If the latest reports are to be believed, though, the quarterback will be willing to sign on the dotted line for an additional $45 million. That number might sound excessive, but it’s not as outlandish as you’d think.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys can’t agree on one crucial detail

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It goes without saying that NFL contract negotiations are an incredibly complex procedure. With that being said, however, the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott seem to be stuck on one specific issue.

Based on what we’ve been hearing from the likes of ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the two parties can’t agree on the length of Prescott’s new extension. While they seem to be in the same neighborhood financially—approximately $35 million per season—the Cowboys would prefer a five-year contract. Dak, on the other hand, wants to be a free agent after four more seasons.

Although that may seem like a small detail, that one year can make a big difference financially. A longer contract helps a franchise keep its costs under control; no matter what Prescott does next season, the Cowboys will know what they’re paying him for the foreseeable future. From the player’s perspective, though, hitting free agency usually represents a massive payday. Given the temporality of an NFL career, it’s completely understandable that he’ll want the chance to sign at least one more major contract beyond this one.

$45 million sounds jarring, but it’s not that different from an existing offer

While it’s been an open secret that Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t settle on a four or five-year deal. The quarterback, however, may be willing to compromise for the right price.

“From what I know of the situation, and I know from some people who are in the know that he’s been offered five years, $175 million,” Chris Simms told 105.3 The Fan’s “K & C Masterpiece” on Tuesday, according to SI.com’s Mike Fisher. “He wants a four-year deal. If they do agree to a five-year deal, they would like a really big number at the end of that fifth year to cover their butts for what the market might be at the position five years from now. And I’ve heard he’s asking for somewhere like north of $45 million in that fifth year.”

While that number might sound jarring, it’s not too far from what’s already on the table. If the Cowboys were willing to pay him $175 million over the next five seasons, $185 million (four seasons at $35 and a fifth at $45) shouldn’t break the bank.

Can Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys get a deal done?

If we believe Chris Simm’s reporting, what does Dak Prescott’s asking price change for the Dallas Cowboys? As mentioned above, it probably doesn’t make a great deal of difference.

If Dak Prescott signs his franchise tag, he’ll earn almost $31.5 million; since the Cowboys chose to apply that tag, we have to assume they’re OK with paying him that much. A five-year, $175 million contract would break down to $35 million per season; Dak’s $45 million request would bump that annual average $37 million. In a league where teams spend more than $2 million annually on their punter, it’s hard to believe the Cowboys would make that figure their line in the sand.

For all of Jerry Jones’ flaws, he, at least in theory, wants to build a team capable of winning the Super Bowl. Investing in Dak Prescott—even if it’s a bit of an overpayment—is probably his best chance of lifting another Lombardi Trophy.