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Dak Prescott didn't get a contract extension, but he can still make the Cowboys pay

The Dallas Cowboys were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension with Dak Prescott, which means the quarterback will play under the franchise tag
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) advances the ball to the 1-yard line on a short run for the end zone as Seattle Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald (30) makes the stop during the second half of the NFC wild-card NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott did not reach a contract extension by 3:00 p.m. Central Time Wednesday. Now, the two sides cannot negotiate a contract extension until the end of the 2020 season.

With the news, Prescott can make the Cowboys pay.

The former 2016 fourth-round pick from Mississippi State will make $31.4 million playing under the exclusive franchise tender, and Prescott also gets his wish of having a short-term contract.

Prescott enters his fifth season as the man under center for Dallas. Prescott has 64 games of experience under his belt, and is entering the prime of his career. Additionally, the 6-2, 238-pound field general will be surrounded by high caliber teammates that will help Prescott maximize his production in 2020.

According to ESPN, the Cowboys have the best offensive tackle in the game in Tyron Smith. Survey participants weren't the beat writers or analysts, but more than 50 league executives, coaches, assistants, scouts, and players who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In looking at the entire field of bookends across all 32 teams, Dallas has the best one in Smith, who has earned every one of his seven straight Pro Bowls playing left tackle.

RELATED: Cowboys, Prescott fail to sign a deal by franchise tag deadline. Here's what that means

In ESPN's interior offensive linemen installment, the same respondents generated a No. 2 overall rank for right guard Zack Martin. Pro Football Focus ranked the Cowboys as having the third-best offensive line in the NFL, and that includes the ambiguity at center with Travis Frederick's sudden retirement. The reliability of La'el Collins at right tackle and the growth of Connor Williams at left guard still leaves the offensive line in an optimistic place.

That line will be in charge of protecting the QB and doesn’t even take into account Prescott's weapons. Bill Barnwell from ESPN ranked the Cowboys' skill positions as being among the best in the NFL, landing at No. 3 in his rankings. Only the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns had more robust weaponry than what Prescott has to choose from before every snap.

With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb, the Dallas receiving corps is going to be difficult for opposing defenses to contain. Running back Ezekiel Elliott can provide support in the passing game as well as shoulder the burden in the run game, a skill he knows best as a two-time NFL rushing champion.

Anything tight end Blake Jarwin provides in his fourth season in the league will be gravy as he doesn't have to be one of the focal points of the passing game.

All of this is to say that the Cowboys are loaded on offense with the potential to help make Prescott look like an MVP-caliber signal caller once again. The cost of an extension will only go up and the time for the Cowboys to step up and get a contract finalized for their franchise quarterback will only dwindle.

Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones told the sports world on Nov. 6, 2018, after the Cowboys' 28-14 Monday night loss at home to the Tennessee Titans, that Prescott would be extended. When the first opportunity to make good on that declaration came, Jones and the Cowboys tagged.

Now, Prescott can drive up his asking price or have greater leverage to dictate his terms at the negotiating table once the season ends.

All the two-time Pro Bowler has to do is perform; he is in the perfect situation to succeed.

How do you feel about the fact that Dak Prescott will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag without an extension? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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