Sun, 28 Feb 2021

What's Next For QB: How To Handle Dak's Deal

Dallas Cowboys
26 Jan 2021, 19:24 GMT+10

David Helman

FRISCO, Texas - As always, this is the uncertain time of the year.

Roughly one third of each NFL roster turns over every single offseason, as each club looks for ways to improve its fortunes moving forward.

The Cowboys are no different, as they'll face many tough decisions in the coming months.

In keeping with that, this series will take a look at each position on the roster, and what choices might face the front office heading into 2021.

We'll start things off in the most logical place possible, as the Cowboys have some big decisions to make in regard to the quarterback position.

Today, we'll focus on a topic that has been relevant for over two years - Dak's contract.

After 2020 Season, What Should The Approach Be With Dak's Deal?

To put it plainly, there is no bigger decision facing the Cowboys this offseason - which should feel familiar by now.

This marks the third consecutive year that Dak Prescott's contract negotiations have hung over this team. In 2021, the song remains the same, albeit with the added wrinkle of Prescott's recovery from a major ankle injury.

Everyone knows the score by this point. The Cowboys and their star quarterback have been haggling over a big-money contract extension for the better part of two years. When a deal couldn't be reached last summer, Prescott opted to bet on himself and play on the franchise tag, assuring him a $31 million pay day.

The bet was going beautifully through the first five weeks of the season, as Prescott was on pace to throw for roughly 5,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Obviously, fate intervened, and he was lost for the season with a compound ankle fracture in the third quarter of the Week 6 win against the New York Giants.

That injury just might color everything that happens next.

With the 2020 season now over, Prescott and the Cowboys are free to negotiate once again. But how much urgency is there, and how confident does the front office feel about giving a massive contract extension to a quarterback who is still recovering from a grisly injury?

Deshaun Watson signed an extension that averages $39 million per season in September, and star quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are eligible for extensions starting this year. Even with his injury, it's obvious the type of price that Prescott might be able to command. Of course, it's on the Cowboys' front office to decide if they agree.

That presents an obvious but tricky decision-making process. They can bank on Prescott, paying him a lucrative contract extension. They could wait and see what happens, using the franchise tag again and coercing him to play another season - this time on a $37.7 million salary. Or they could theoretically move on and look for quality quarterback play somewhere else.

It's highly unlikely the third option happens. Realistically, Prescott is likely headed for a second-straight franchise tag - but will that simply be a placeholder until a long-term deal can be reached, or will he once again play to prove his worth under the tag?

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