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Prescott's price going up as the Cowboys wait

The Dallas Cowboys still have not come to a long term contract agreement with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott despite months of negotiations
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

DALLAS — The longer the contract extension talks drag out between the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott, the better it ends up being for the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

There is no question that the Cowboys and Prescott will enjoy a second contract together. The suspense was summarily ended on Nov. 6, 2018, on "Shan & RJ" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] when owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones declared Prescott would get extended.

“Listen," Jones said the day after a 28-14 Monday night loss where Prescott threw a red zone interception and had a lost fumble. "Dak is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s young, and he’s going to get extended."

Well, that's that.

Why the contract negotiations dragging out is good for Prescott is because of the new contract class he's found himself in. During the 2019 offseason, Prescott was in the contract class with fellow 2016 draft members Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. The Philadelphia Eagles extended their first-rounder to the tune of $32 million a year, and the Los Angeles Rams extended their Super Bowl field general at about $33.5 million annually.

2020 is the first offseason that the 2017 quarterbacks can begin contract talks with their respective teams. That means the Houston Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson will have to figure out what they want to do, and so too will the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes when their Super Bowl run is over. The Chicago Bears also can start talking about a contract extension with Mitch Trubisky.

For Prescott, unlike those three, he will be a free agent when the new league year begins on March 18. However, there is no way the Cowboys are going to let that happen, which means they would have the franchise tag at their disposal. The first day a club can tag a player is Feb. 25 and March 10 is the deadline for the tag to be applied. However, when it comes to the franchise tag and parties that want to get deals hashed out, July 15 is the real deadline as that is when the tag sticks and clubs and players can't talk about an extension until the end of the season.

If Prescott is tagged, so to speak, then he is eligible to be re-signed by the Cowboys while the Texans, Chiefs, and Bears are working out deals to keep their franchise quarterbacks.

According to Over the Cap, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is making the most annually at the position at $35 million. Since Mahomes has come into the league, he has led his team to two conference title game appearances and a Super Bowl berth. Wilson has led his club to two playoff appearances and a wild-card playoff win. Mahomes has definitely done more in that span than Wilson, which means he is going to eclipse Wilson's annual money.

By the same token, Watson will be able to argue that he has done just as much to earn Wilson's yearly money, and he gives them a good 10 years under center where the organization doesn't have the worry about a quarterback. The baseline should be at least what Wilson is making if not $40 million.

Since entering the NFL, Trubisky has led the Bears to as much as Matt Ryan has with the Atlanta Falcons: a playoff appearance, although Ryan's squad advanced to the divisional round in 2017. Nonetheless, Trubisky, because of the nature of how position markets keep growing each year, will earn about $30 million annually.

Then comes Prescott. If he is still negotiating with the Cowboys around the same time as the three 2017 draftees are getting their new deals, he will be able to use Mahomes and Watson setting the market as an argument for what he should make. Also, consider that the salary cap is projected to keep increasing annually, there’s a new TV deal is on the horizon, and the current collective bargaining agreement will expire at the end of the 2020 season. Whether Prescott is worthy of being paid as much as Mahomes or not, his contract is going to look like a bargain in the years to come because of these three factors.

Maybe $40 million a year wasn't so crazy after all.

The thing is, Jones knows he is going to have to pony up when it comes time to pay Prescott.

"It's always been expensive for quarterbacks," Jones said at the Houston Sports Awards via the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. "My first one was Troy Aikman and I made him the highest-paid player in the NFL."

Aikman had a Super Bowl win to help with his negotiations. Prescott will have the quarterback market, a new CBA, a new TV deal, and a rising salary cap to help make his case. And maybe the Super Bowl win can come thereafter and justify the contract in the eyes of fans.

Do you think Dak Prescott is worth a deal in the Russell Wilson range? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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