DALLAS — It’s finally over! In what was perhaps the most drawn out contract negotiation that the Dallas Cowboys have worked towards in franchise history, initial reports state that the team and quarterback Dak Prescott have agreed to a four-year, $160 million deal, with $126 million guaranteed.
The deal that has been in the making for three straight offseasons, and led to some serious doubts about how the franchise felt about franchise QB Prescott, has come to an end with an amicable agreement. The organization came through and rewarded Prescott with the mega deal that he has been seeking since 2019.
Prescott’s extension will also allow for a brief respite to the infighting among Cowboys fans who have often taken to social media over the past few years to argue about Prescott’s worth. In the end, Prescott is worth what the Cowboys will be paying him. In this case, it’s $160 million for the next four seasons.
The true numbers on the deal are staggering but earned. Prescott can accrue a max of $164 million with bonuses and $126 million of his deal is guaranteed. Prescott's signing bonus of $66 million is the highest in NFL history. Prescott’s first year salary will be $75 million with a $22.2 million dollar cap hit.
Prescott won. He got the dollars and the provisions that he sought on a shorter four-year deal. Prescott has a no-trade clause and cannot have the franchise tag applied to him again when this extension runs out as a 31-year-old in 2025.
However, while it seems like the Cowboys bent over backward to get the deal complete before having to place the franchise tag on Prescott for a second consecutive season, both parties got what they wanted.
Jerry and Stephen Jones have often mentioned that they wanted Prescott to be their quarterback for the future and the veteran QB has always maintained that he wanted to remain in Dallas.
Now, both sides got their wish. The only shame from the Cowboys’ side is that it took this long. Waiting ultimately cost them some money with the rest of the league elevating the price to re-sign quarterbacks over the last few years. For Dak, he bet on himself and it paid off.
If the Cowboys wanted to keep Prescott wearing the star on the side of his helmet for the foreseeable future when they said as much years ago, they took a strange route to get here today. Not being able to agree to a deal in the past two offseasons means the team will now miss out on some valuable salary cap dollars down the road.
However, that’s the cost of waiting to sign your franchise quarterback. The price only goes up, it rarely comes down.
The Cowboys are also taking on an extra risk with Prescott suffering a serious season-ending ankle injury last season. The team must be confident in the rehab and that Prescott will get back to his old self when he returns.
For Prescott, the value of the contract jives with rumors that he wanted to be paid just behind Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes in terms of average annual salary. The $40 million per year ranks second only to Mahomes and ahead of Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
We can argue whether Prescott is worth what the Cowboys paid, and the nature of the beast suggests that everyone will, but the bottom line is the Cowboys wanted to keep Prescott and they shelled out the money it takes to keep a top-tier player. Prescott’s worth is ultimately what the team paid; everything else is background noise when you retain a player you want to keep.
Signing Prescott was an important step in prepping the team for this offseason. The Cowboys needed to know how much money they could spend in free agency and they needed to move on from this distraction to get back to trying to build a winner. With Prescott fully in the fold, the team can now prepare for the open market which is set to begin next week.
The Dak do-si-do is over for now. The Dallas Cowboys have their quarterback and leader back with no contract concerns hanging over their heads. The soap opera known as “America’s Team” starring Dak Prescott has been renewed for another four years and it continues to be the best reality show on television.
Jerry Jones wouldn’t have it any other way, even if he’s a little lighter in the pocket.
Are you happy to see the Cowboys keep Dak Prescott in the fold for the next four years? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.