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This NFL offseason will be chock full of free-agent quarterbacks. While Tom Brady might be stealing most of the attention, Dak Prescott will also need a new deal. The Dallas Cowboys have previously said they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the young signal-caller in Texas, but Troy Aikman wants them to think twice before potentially using their franchise tag.

Dak Prescott is incredibly valuable, but Aikman is concerned about the bigger picture. He warned that the franchise tag “could have damaging effects” on the Dallas Cowboys.

Dak Prescott needs a new contract

Last season didn’t work out too well for the Dallas Cowboys. While the team collapsed down the stretch, Dak Prescott wasn’t the problem.

Prescott threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns over the course of the campaign. To make matters tougher for the Cowboys, those numbers came in the final year of the young quarterback’s rookie contract; he now needs an extension before the start of the new season.

Down the stretch, Jerry Jones insisted that the Cowboys would work something out with Prescott; as of the NFL combine, however, the two parties hadn’t started talking. In recent weeks, things have seemed to ramp up, though, with the club apparently offering Dak a hefty new contract. Nothing is set in stone, though, and the specter of the franchise tag is still looming.

Troy Aikman warns against using the franchise tag

If the Dallas Cowboys can’t work out a deal with Dak Prescott, they do have one additional way to keep him in Texas: the franchise tag. Troy Aikman, however, warned that might not be the best idea.

“I know [Cowboys owner] Jerry [Jones] has talked about wanting to sign him,” Troy Aikman explained on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “To me, it is a no-brainer, you’re right. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened. I’d hate to think what might happen or how Dak might feel if they end up going the franchise tag route. I just don’t think that’s gonna be in the best interest of all parties. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the Cowboys, and it could have damaging effects, in my opinion. I’m hoping they get a deal done.”

The damage would presumably be to the relationship between the Cowboys and their quarterback. As a rule, players don’t want to be franchise tagged, since it removes their bargaining power. If the club were to franchise tag Prescott, he could be less likely to work out a deal with Dallas in the long term.

Troy Aikman believes that Dak Prescott deserves a new contract

Last year, Dak Prescott had a strong statistical season. Troy Aikman, however, feels that his value goes far beyond passing yards and touchdowns.

“I think sometimes leaderships and leaders gets thrown around. Those words get thrown around in maybe a way that’s not reflective of maybe the players,” Aikman continued. “But this guy in every sense of those words is what he is. His teammates love playing for him. He has an energy and a charisma about him that I haven’t seen in very many guys. I think, for the most part, he’s matched that in his play and the progress that he’s made.”

While it’s possible that the Cowboys will simply use the franchise tag to keep negotiating a larger deal with Dak Prescott before the season begins, there’s no need to beat around the bush. As Aikman said in November, “pay the man.”