It might be the offseason schedule, but the Dallas Cowboys always find a way to make the news. Earlier this year, Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott couldn’t agree on a new contract; while it wasn’t an ideal solution, the club used their franchise tag to buy some more time. Things haven’t improved, though.
As the teams try to begin their offseason preparations in a virtual manner, the Dallas Cowboys have a new problem. Dak Prescott, it seems, isn’t going to participate without a new contract.
The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott are at an impasse
In the modern NFL, everything starts and ends with your quarterback. Based on their negotiations with Dak Prescott, however, it’s unclear if Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys believe that’s the case.
Last season was the final year of Prescott’s rookie contract, meaning the young quarterback needs a new deal. Based on his performance—while the Cowboys have struggled, Dak himself has played well—he’s in line for a hefty raise; he and the Cowboys, however, are yet to see eye-to-eye.
Based on reports, the club offered Prescott a five-year contract worth somewhere around $35 million per season. The quarterback, however, hasn’t signed on the dotted line; he’s apparently seeking a four-year term, which would let him cash in on another massive contract before calling it a career.
With both sides at an impasse, the Cowboys slapped their franchise tag on Prescott. Ideally, the two parties can negotiate July 15, but, in a worst-case scenario, Dak will remain in Dallas for the 2020 NFL season.
Dak Prescott isn’t willing to play (virtual) ball
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL’s offseason operations are taking place virtually. While that will be most apparent during the draft, it also affects players on the roster; until things change, they’ll be working out from home. Dak Prescott, however, won’t be taking part.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the quarterback isn’t planning on participating in the Cowboys’ “virtual offseason workout program” when it begins on Monday. Furthermore, a source close to the situation explained that “Prescott will not take part in the stay-at-home preparations for the 2020 season, unless and until he has a long-term deal.”
While there’s no guarantee Prescott would have taken part anyway—at this point in the offseason, things are optional—it does send a message to the Dallas Cowboys. He may be on the roster in theory, but he’s not ready to join up with the team without a new contract.
Beyond the financials, the Dallas Cowboys have a problem
Setting aside the financial implications of the current situation, it’s safe to say the Dallas Cowboys are in a tough situation.
By allowing Dak Prescott to hold out, the club has painted itself into a corner. The 2020 NFL season will be the quarterback’s first season with anyone other than Jason Garrett at the helm; he’ll need every opportunity possible to adjust to life under Mike McCarthy.
It’s easy to write offseason workouts of as a waste of time, but time is of the essence. Even if Prescott signs a new deal by July or begrudgingly plays out his one-year franchise tag, every passing day is a missed opportunity to get on the same page with his new head coach. A few botched plays at the start of the year could be the difference between making the playoffs and heading home after Week 17.
The largest underlying issue for Dallas, however, is that Prescott holds the leverage. While it wouldn’t be an ideal situation for either party, he could simply sit out the entire 2020 season. That would leave the Cowboys in an immediate lurch, but also leave them scrambling for a long-term replacement; it’s one thing to change quarterbacks, but it’s another to have the move forced upon you without prior planning.
While this entire situation could have been avoided by being proactive before Prescott’s contract expired, but Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys missed the boat. Now they’re paying the price.