FORT WORTH, Texas — Former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl quarterback Steve Bartkowski believes the Dallas Cowboys should back up the Brinks truck and acquiesce to quarterback Dak Prescott's contract demands.
The former 2016 fourth-round pick from Mississippi State is set to be a free agent on March 18 when the new league year begins, but the Cowboys won't allow that to happen. With the franchise tag available, Dallas could create more negotiating time to get a deal done with Prescott.
Regardless, Bartkowski thinks owner Jerry Jones and the Cowboys' front office should meet Prescott's requirements and ink the contract extension.
"The thing about the National Football League is that there are only 90 quarterbacks that make teams, and there are only about two dozen of them that can really be called franchise quarterbacks," Bartkowski said at the Davey O'Brien Award banquet on Monday at the Fort Worth Club. "So, people are still looking for franchise quarterbacks. I'm glad that Dak's going to get paid. He deserves to get paid. Dallas has got a winner in him, and they would be silly to not give him whatever he needs to get to be happy."
Prescott has compiled a 40-24 record with a 97.0 passer rating in his four seasons starting every game for the Cowboys. While the Cowboys have a 1-2 playoff record under Prescott and have failed to advance beyond the divisional round, Dallas has not endured a losing season with the two-time Pro Bowler.
The chief problem with the Cowboys and Prescott is the value of the 26-year-old from Haughton, La. Prescott reportedly turned down a $30 million contract extension in the 2019 preseason. However, Prescott reportedly believes he is worth $40 million a year.
Whatever number the Cowboys and Prescott settle on, the reality is he will make more money than Bartkowski could have imagined, even after he became the No. 1 pick in the 1975 draft – one selection before Dallas took Randy White – for Atlanta where he stayed from 1975-85 before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1986.
"It's a different world," said Bartkowski. "God bless them. I think everybody should make as much as they can possibly make, as much as the system will give them, because you do leave a lot of yourself out there on the field. There are some guys, some of my teammates that I played with that played for the love of the game. And they've got a little jingle in their pocket, but they are paying for it now."
When the Cowboys finally shell out a franchise quarterback's ransom for Prescott, Bartkowski says the organization still has to have a capable team around Prescott.
"But at the end of the day it's about the guys that are around you," said Bartkowski. "You've got to have the right people around you. It's the ultimate team game."
Do you agree with Steve Bartkowski that the Cowboys should pony up and get Dak Prescott signed? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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