Dak Prescott more or less bet on himself this season by choosing not to sign a long-term contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys.
Instead, the quarterback inked a franchise tag worth $31.4 million for the 2020 campaign. He can earn $37.7 million in 2021 if tagged again.
It looked like a shrewd move for Prescott, who reportedly turned down a contract offer that would have guaranteed him more than $100 million with an average annual salary of near $35 million. The 27-year-old posted gaudy numbers through Dallas’ first four games, boosting his stock, while Patrick Mahomes (10 years, $503 million) and Deshaun Watson (four years, $160 million) recently reset the quarterback market with their own extensions.
But Prescott suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation Sunday in the Cowboys’ Week 5 win over the New York Giants, an injury that’s projected to require a four- to six-month recovery. And there’s now some question as to how it’ll impact his future in Dallas and his overall earning power.
Jeremy Fowler spoke with several NFL executives regarding Prescott’s situation for a piece published Tuesday on ESPN.com. Opinions seem to vary, with one exec suggesting the injury won’t be a huge blow to Prescott’s bank account in the long run.
“The injury doesn’t help, but I still think he’ll be looking at a top-five-quarterback contract when this is all said and done,” the exec reportedly said.
Here’s more from Fowler:
That means $33 million per year is the floor. And that’s not a bad bet in the end, especially with Prescott’s hefty loss-of-value insurance policy in case the money is lower.
Not everyone sees a clear path to that number just yet. One prominent NFL agent said he isn’t so sure the Cowboys would give the same offer from last offseason, at least initially, while trying to exercise whatever leverage they have.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones insisted Monday that Prescott’s injury doesn’t change the organization’s stance on the QB, calling him “our future” and expressing faith he’ll “come back better than ever.”
It’ll be fascinating, however, to see how both sides approach contract negotiations moving forward in light of what happened Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Maybe the Cowboys ultimately sign Prescott to the $37.7 million franchise tag for 2021. Maybe the team gains some leverage. Or maybe Prescott remains steadfast in his demands, forcing Dallas to either pay up or risk losing its franchise cornerstone on the open market.