Cowboys Say Dak Prescott No Longer Top Offseason Priority
The Cowboys say Dak Prescott is no longer their top offseason priority heading into March. Upgrading the defense is now deemed more important.
This past week, Dallas’ vice president Stephen Jones appeared at the NFL Combine and spoke to the media regarding an assortment of topics.
One of the things discussed was what the Cowboys’ priorities were heading into next month’s looming free agency.
According to Jones, the top priority was defense.
“Defense is the priority for this offseason,” he said.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones: “Defense is the priority for this offseason.”
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) February 24, 2020
This is interesting not because it is a bad strategy, but because it is very different from what Jones said just a month ago regarding the team’s offseason objectives.
Priorities have shifted.
“It’s been urgent for us,” Jones said at the time regarding re-signing Prescott.
“We certainly want to get that done. That’s our No. 1 priority as we go into the offseason.”
It appears that has since changed.
To be clear, Dallas is still very interested in retaining Prescott. When asked if the team is eyeing any other options at quarterback, Jones squashed the idea very quickly.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
“Dak’s our quarterback and our quarterback of the future.”
But the urgency that existed a month ago to get a new deal done seems to have dissipated. In a lot of ways, all parties involved seemed to have come to terms with the fact that Prescott will likely need to be franchise tagged.
Money is an issue.
According to multiple reports, Prescott is seeking somewhere between $33 million and $40 million annually for his next deal. Dallas would likely end up having to pay him something in the $27 million range next year if it simply placed the franchise tag on him.
Prescott has been playing for Dallas on his cheap rookie deal, so he is really looking to get paid this time around.
Last year, the 26-year-old put up some of the best numbers of his career. He recorded 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.
The season prior, in 2018, he amassed 3,885 yards, 22 scores and 8 interceptions.
Unfortunately, Prescott’s personal growth last year did not manifest itself in Dallas winning more games. Ultimately, the team got off to a hot start before flopping hard late and failing to make it to the postseason.
There has not been much progress on a new deal to date.
This week, Jones acknowledged that he and Prescott’s agent Todd France had not discussed a new contract since last September.
“Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said the team has not met or negotiated with QB Dak Prescott’s agent Todd France since September before the season,” tweeted out Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
“No talks yet this offseason. May meet here at combine, but meeting not firmly scheduled yet.”
Obviously that is not a promising sign that a deal will get done any time soon.
Stephen Jones says they’ve had “low” to “non-existent” activity on negotating Dak Prescott’s new contract. They last talked in September and negotiations stopped when “they were where they were and we were done where we were.”Says nothing acrimonious though and still their guy.
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) February 24, 2020
When pressed on whether franchise tagging Prescott was inevitable at this stage, Jones played it coy.
“I just don’t think we’ve had our hands around what the next steps are,” he said.
“Obviously we didn’t end up getting it done because they were pretty entrenched with their thoughts and we were pretty entrenched with our thoughts.
“I think really that’s the facts of the world we work. Certainly we’ve done a lot of thinking about it and looking at it and we’ll see where it ends up.”
There has been a change in tone from all parties involved.
Regardless of what Jones is saying now, the change in tone regarding Prescott getting a big new contract in the foreseeable future is very noticeable.
The smart money is still on a deal in some capacity getting done – but it might be a much longer slog to get to that point than the Cowboys originally let on.