Cowboys’ QB on critics: ‘It’s almost comical’
Prescott readying for contract extension talks
DALLAS – A Cowboys’ front office with a young, talented core has decisions to make as early as this spring.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence caps off another double-digit sack season after playing on the franchise tag.
Cornerback Byron Jones emerges from his first Pro Bowl year entering the last season of his rookie deal.
Quarterback Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper will be unrestricted free agents in 2020, which also would mark the fifth-year option for running back Ezekiel Elliott.
What does all this mean for Prescott as he looks to lock up an extension?
“I think the team knows how to pay what’s deserved,” he told USA TODAY before the Super Bowl, “and pay those other people at the same time what’s deserved without being frugal.”
The Cowboys and Prescott, represented by NFL agent Todd France, will need to reach agreement on what exactly constitutes frugal.
Through three years, the Cowboys have enjoyed a bargain on their starting quarterback. The 2016 fourth-round pick’s salary cap hit of $725,848 in 2018 ranked 55th among NFL passers. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ average annual value of $33.5 million clocks in just below 50 (49.2) times as expensive as Prescott’s ($680,848). Fourteen players at the position in total had cap figures in excess of $20 million last year.
Prescott’s wide range of endorsements (which include Adidas, Beats and Tostitos) supplement a salary modest by NFL terms. But as his first chance to negotiate an extension hits this spring, his team will ask: What is he worth?
Prescott doesn’t see Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s team-friendly deal, for which he made just $15 million last season, as a blueprint for his own.
“Nobody’s wife makes as much money as his wife does either,” Prescott said of Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, who earned $10 million in 2018 and $17.5 million in 2017, per reports. “When Tom Brady isn’t the breadwinner in the home, then that’s a great problem to have.
“So in that case, he can do that. He can do his contract however you want to do it.”
Prescott has made clear he wants to stay with Dallas. Cowboys’ personnel, too, have made clear they see him as their long-term quarterback.
After that, executive vice president Stephen Jones said, there’s only so much leeway on contract details.
“I think the market is what the market is,” Jones said from Senior Bowl practices late January in Mobile, Alabama. “We’ve all seen it. So, I think, you know, there’s not really a lot to get a feel for in terms of knowing what it is. I think the contracts are out there for everybody to see.
“It’s always good to be a quarterback though. Especially one that wins, is a winner.”
In three seasons, Prescott has won 32 regular-season games and one game in the playoffs. He has started every contest since Dallas drafted him, and injuries to Tony Romo (now CBS’ lead broadcaster) and Kellen Moore (now the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator) vaulted him from fourth-string to first in weeks.
His 67 passing touchdowns through three seasons aren’t gaudy — MVP Patrick Mahomes tossed 50 in Kansas City this season — though Prescott’s 18 rushing scores rank tops among quarterbacks in the league through the stretch.
Prescott entrenched his starter role as a rookie in large part due to the ball security he displayed while mounting a 23-to-4 TD-to-interception ratio. He has since slipped, throwing 13 picks in 2017 and eight last year in addition to 12 fumbles. But he followed several of those turnovers with late charges, setting an NFL record for fourth-quarter and overtime comebacks (15) by a quarterback in his first three seasons.
Prescott enters his first chance to negotiate having won seven of his last eight regular-season games, completing 71.63 percent of passes and accounting for 16 total touchdowns with just four interceptions during that stretch.
He points to that success, after the Cowboys traded for Cooper, as evidence against naysayers.
“People are going to question, and I want them to,” Prescott said. “I don’t care. I am here where I am today because of the people always saying what I couldn’t or could do.
“It’s almost comical sometimes. If I hear it or allow myself to get involved in the talk, sometimes it’s comical. But I just keep going out there and just doing what I know I can do best.”
Dak Prescott is 32-16 with 67 TD passes over three regular seasons with Dallas.