The top priority leading into this offseason for the Dallas Cowboys centers around working through Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott‘s contract situation. Prescott has wrapped up his rookie deal and could head into free agency if the Cowboys don’t handle the matter appropriately. The two sides have remained far apart in their contract talks, which has shifted the dialogue into other directions in how the team could go about getting him under a new contract. With the start of free agency just a few days away, the Cowboys may have their eyes fixated on going one route with Prescott’s situation.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys at standstill in contract talks
Since last offseason, the Cowboys have had the question around Prescott‘s long-term future with the franchise remain prominent.
The two sides had hoped to work out a contract extension before the 2019 campaign, but both sides were unable to agree to any deal. That saw the conversation shelved since last September before they brief reconvened during the Scouting Combine last week.
The lack of discussions has given a clear picture that the two sides remain far apart. There is a keen mutual interest to work out a new contract that will keep the 26-year-old in Dallas for the long haul, but the fact that has remained uncertain now in early March with free agency about two weeks away should draw some level of concern.
Prescott has remained confident in the entire process, but there are a few hurdles to get through first. That has shifted the game plan in another direction for the Cowboys with their star quarterback.
Cowboys eyeing exclusive franchise tag for Dak Prescott
Before the start of free agency on March 18, teams will have the ability to utilize different tags on players to retain them at least through the 2020 campaign.
Throughout the negotiation process, the Cowboys have had in their back pocket the option of utilizing the franchise tag on Prescott. That is something that Jenna Laine of ESPN has indicated Dallas is leaning towards placing on the Pro Bowler this offseason.
It gives them a chance to table to the conversation for at least right now with a deadline to negotiate an extension in mid-July. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement on a new deal, then it at least puts him under contract through the 2020 campaign and have the conversation restart again next year.
The Cowboys would be tied to around $33 million for the upcoming season, which would put Prescott among the top annual salaries at his position. Beyond that, it allows them to quickly shift their attention over to getting a new contract done with star wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Robert Quinn before the start of free agency.
There are plenty of incentives for the Cowboys to head this route, which could benefit the franchise in many ways moving forward.
Would that be the right move for the Cowboys?
The Cowboys could operate in this matter with a sense of urgency, but it appears that they are more than comfortable going this route.
It tables the conversation for an extension while allowing them to focus on other important matters around the roster that would fit head coach Mike McCarthy’s game plan. Meanwhile, it puts more pressure on Prescott to once again prove that he can lead the franchise to success and be the quarterback that can guide them to a Super Bowl.
If there is no significant movement in the contract discussions in the coming weeks, expect the Cowboys to be more than at ease going this direction.