The question of whether Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would or wouldn’t have signed a long-term deal with specific terms included or omitted is irrelevant at this point. The July 15 deadline came and went without the two sides signing a new deal, which means they can’t do a long-term deal until after the 2020 regular season ends.
But that doesn’t mean it’s meaningless to wonder what Dak or Dallas would have done on a long-term deal, because history could indeed repeat itself in 2021, when the Cowboys have the power to tag Dak again. On Sunday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that Prescott would have signed a five-year deal if the Cowboys had sacrificed the ability to apply the franchise tag after the contract expires. On Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about that report during one of his twice-weekly appearances on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.
“I’m not going to specifically get into Dak’s situation and wouldn’t,” Jones said. “The franchise tag itself is normally reserved for a very, very impactful one that gives you leverage, one that allows you to, if you will, bargain but still keep the player. It’s an integral part of the negotiation process in the NFL. That’s not just to Dak. That’s to any player there is. You would not want it to be a very valuable to retain in our case, and we did. But it gives you the ability to do what we’re doing this year, and that’s without agreement we’re on a long-term contract.”
Although Jones’ response arguably creates the impression that the report is accurate but that Jones simply doesn’t want to confirm it, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the possibility of a five-year deal with no tag on the back end wasn’t discussed.
Dak wanted a four-year deal, cognizant that the Cowboys would have the ability to tag him for a year or two after that. Throughout the talks, the reports centered on four years versus five years; it was never reported or suggested that the compromise would potentially reside in a five-year deal with no tag.
If the Cowboys still insist on a five-year deal after the season, maybe they should consider offering no franchise tag as part of the package. Whatever they offer, it will need to be enough to get Dak to give up his right to force another tag — at a value of $37.68 million for 2021.