Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed once more that contract talks with Dak Prescott broke down over the length of the offers, not necessarily the total value.
Nor because the front office is scared to invest long-term in the franchise(-tagged) quarterback.
“Our issues in our negotiations with Dak have been that we’re wanting to be more committed, in terms of the (number of years). We’re not nervous to sign Dak,” Jones said Wednesday on 105.3 The Fan, via The Athletic. “His makeup is all the right things. He’s a great leader. He’s a great player.”
That Dak and Dallas failed to strike an agreement before the season wasn’t for a lack of initiative or confidence on the latter’s behalf. Prescott reportedly turned down multiple proposals which would have paid north of $33.5 million annually with $110 million guaranteed.
Problem is, the Cowboys were insistent on a five-year contract — as is their standard operating procedure — while Prescott held firm for four years, allowing him to re-test the waters again at age 30. Discussions eventually bottomed out as the July 15 deadline expired. The sides cannot resume negotiations until the offseason.
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Second Time’s a Charm?
The Joneses have no intention of letting Prescott, who played 2020 on his fully-guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tender, hit the unrestricted free-agent market next March, even after the former Pro Bowler’s devastating ankle injury. Or so they posture, anyway.
“Dak is deserving of anything that you want to put on a piece of paper, relatively speaking. He’s deserving of that,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said in October. “If you evaluate what he can do to help us win championships, you can see that it’s there. Plus, he’s a leader at the premier leader spot. We’ve got to make it work. So what am I saying? I’m saying exactly the same thing I said the last time I was asked about this before the season started. This is part of the game, the business and the contract part.”
Prescott’s gnarly right ankle compound fracture and dislocation, suffered Oct. 11, is expected to require 4-6 months of rehabilitation. The team said recently that Prescott is ahead of schedule in the post-surgical process; the shortest end of his timeline means he’s healed by February, prior to free agency.
When the Cowboys will be prompted to put their money where their mouth is — again.
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Calls for Cowboys to Draft ‘Franchise QB’
Jimmy Johnson wants Dallas to maintain the status quo in 2021 — with a caveat. The Hall-of-Fame former Cowboys coach and current FOX Sports analyst advocated for the team to nab a “franchise quarterback” with its potential top-10 NFL draft pick.
“I don’t expect them to have this high of a pick in the draft in the future. So I would not bypass a franchise quarterback in the draft,” Johnson said Tuesday night before Dallas’ Week 13 road game against the Ravens. “Quarterbacks are valuable. Go ahead and take one if one’s there when you’re picking.”
Common logic indicates the Cowboys taking a QB in the top-10 likely spells the end of Prescott. The club wouldn’t pass on sorely needed defensive help for a signal-caller unless the latter is locked into QB1 duties. But Johnson believes a rookie can — and should — co-exist with the veteran.
“The number one priority? They’ve got to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term contract,” he said on the FOX pre-game show. “Not a franchise tag, because that will eat up too much of a reduced cap.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL