Dallas Cowboys Place Franchise Tag on QB Dak Prescott

105.3 The Fan
March 16, 2020 - 10:31 am

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys plan to make Dak Prescott the highest-paid player in franchise history over the course of a long-term deal. But in advance of today's 10:59 a.m. CT deadline for playing a franchise tag on an unsigned player so as to retain his rights has come and good with no deal, Dallas has done so with the QB, placing the exclusive tag on him.

The long-term payoff can still come, with a mid-July deadline to have that done. But even without that, once Prescott signs this tender, he'll still be the highest-paid player in franchise history with a locked-in and fully-guaranteed salary of almost $33 million for 2020.

The Cowboys have wrestled with questions about Prescott as their franchise QB but last September, having offered him "top-five QB money,'' the answer seemed in place. Prescott, via agent Todd France of CAA, nearly agreed to that deal at that time.

As reported in this space, a new offer was submitted in early March that was to pay the QB in cumulative excess of $33 mil APY/$105 mil guaranteed. Prescott declined to accept that offer.

But the years of the contract was probably a sticking point then and certainly is now. Dallas would prefer a six-year contract; understandably, France would fight for a shorter-term deal given the possibility of the NFL salary cap skyrocketing in coming years as the TV contract expires after the 2022 season.

Negotiations between Jerry and Stephen Jones' side and Prescott's side will continue, of course. (Negotiations right now with Amari Cooper, by the way, are sizzling.) Prescott has the option of declining to sign Dallas' franchise-tag tender ... and using the leverage he has by staying away from the team. Captains Workouts. OTAs. Minicamps ... Training camp in Oxnard?

And indeed, Prescott himself is the one who lit this fire by coyly suggesting that maybe he won't be hanging around Frisco (and, therefore, The Star) during the spring.

Worried, Jerry?

“It’s not a concern of mine,” Jones recently told the DFW media. “One of the great things about Dak is his commitment to building a team. I don’t have an issue there.”

Indeed, a source close to the situation tells CowboysSI.com that it is the Jones family's view that their "good-faith'' bargaining has earned the sort of mutual faith that would preclude a withholding of services.

Additionally, the Cowboys hope the nature of Prescott's character and also the nature of his position - especially as the Cowboys have presented him with a new coach in Mike McCarthy who has a Green Bay-based history of working with his QB on a daily basis - will cause him to sign the tender and show up for work. (Another new issue: Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there may not be offseason workouts to miss.)

The importance of all of this is paramount for a team with new leadership but the same old goals of contention.

“There’s no going forward without Stephen or one of your family members,” Jerry said, comparing Dak to one of his own offspring. "So you got to get it figured out.''

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