While the NFL offseason is still young, the Dallas Cowboys have already made plenty of news. The team worked out an extension for wide receiver Amari Cooper; they’ve also resigned Blake Jarwin and lost Byron Jones to the Dolphins. Their biggest move, however, was slapping the franchise tag on Dak Prescott.
While that decision will keep Prescott in Big D for another season, franchise tags can be a touchy subject; players generally view them as more of an insult than anything else. The Cowboys, however, insist that they aren’t disrespecting their quarterback at all.
Dak Prescott’s contractual situation
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys collapsed down the home stretch. While everything usually starts and ends with the quarterback, Dak Prescott wasn’t the problem; if anything, his 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdowns helped keep the club afloat.
Despite that reality, the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement on a new contract. The Cowboys apparently offered Prescott a new deal, but the quarterback didn’t blink. That prompted Dallas to franchise tag their main man under center; that will give them more time to keep talking, but ensures that Prescott will remain under contract for another year.
Franchise tags, of course, come with a downside. While there have been a few exceptions, players don’t want to be forced to accept a one-year, fixed-value contract; they’d prefer to test the open market and choose which contract they want to accept. Troy Aikman even publically warned that he’d “hate to think what might happen or how Dak might feel if they end up going the franchise tag route.”
The Cowboys, however, insist there’s no disrespect
Although franchise tags aren’t popular among players, the Dallas Cowboys insist that they aren’t disrespecting Dak Prescott. If anything, the team feels like they’re being more than reasonable.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Cowboys have offered their quarterback more than Carson Wentz and Jared Goff; while it’s not clear if they’re talking about annual salary or total salary, it would still be a sizable contract. The impasse, it seems, stems from the length of the deal.
Both Wentz and Goff have four-year contracts and earn roughly the same amount of money per season. Prescott apparently wants his extension to be the same length; if Dallas wants to talk longer term, they’ll presumably have to put more money on the table. The Cowboys quarterback turns 27 this summer, so he’s probably angling for one more major contract after his next one. When your professional career as short as an NFL player’s, it makes sense to plan ahead for a bigger payday.
Disrespect or not, there’s still a chance to set things right
While franchise tags can seem like an ultimatum, the NFL offseason is still young. Even if the Cowboys didn’t mean to disrespect Dak Prescott, they can still buckle down and take care of business.
Teams can keep negotiating with a franchise-tagged player until July 15; that reality gives the two parties just under four months to hammer out an agreement. While it doesn’t seem like Prescott has any motivation to budge at this point, the Cowboys could get closer to the quarterback’s demands over time. Jerry Jones is no stranger to shelling out big money, but he’s also not likely to admit he was wrong; we’ll have to see which side of him wins out.
Whether they’re hard balling Dak Prescott or simply trying to negotiate, the Dallas Cowboys have put their contract talks on the clock. If no deal gets done by the middle of July, it’s safe to say that both parties will probably feel disrespected.