Dallas Cowboys blew Dak Prescott negotiations, and here’s why

Unsurprisingly, it appears the Dallas Cowboys blew their shot at keeping Dak Prescott as its franchise quarterback. 

It’s not quite the rebels getting one over on The Emperor in Star Wars, but Dak Prescott holding firm and beating Jerry Jones at his own game feels just as cathartic.

Prescott was pressured by the Cowboys — and by extension fans and football talking heads alike — to sign a long-term deal to remain in Dallas for the foreseeable future. The only problem was, the deal didn’t match what Precott thought his value was, so he refused to sign for anything less than what he felt he deserved.

This culminated in a deal not getting done and will result in Prescott playing on the franchise tag in 2020 before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Of course, the Cowboys can tag Dak again and the Groundhog Day cycle would start again but all future iterations of the Cowboys playing hardball will see them playing at a significant disadvantage.

Peter King from NBC Sports highlighted exactly why this is the case when appearing on The Dan Patrick Show this week.

“The Cowboys blew it. The Cowboys should have signed Dak Prescott [last offseason],” King told Patrick. “When has the price for a quarterback ever gone down? The Dallas Cowboys blew a chance to get Dak Prescott at his cheapest a year ago.”

That’s the rub. Dallas tried to do pinch pennies to save a few dollars and will now either pay out much more than it ever wanted to or lose Dak entirely to free agency. It’s a tactic that Jones has used many times in the past, but it feels like the first time he’s been beaten at his own game.

Jones played hardball with Emmitt Smith in 1993, putting a potential Super Bowl season on the brink over the difference of $8 million. Smith held out for 64-days and Jones eventually caved and paid him $13.4 million — which at the time was the highest price for a running back in the history of football. But Smith stuck around, and the Cowboys ended up becoming a dynasty; the Dak Prescott situation feels different.

Smith was head of his time with player empowerment, and that resolve has only grown stronger over the ensuing decades. Prescott works in a league where a quarterback a tier below him bet on himself and earned a full guaranteed $84 million contract as a result. If Dak turns in a season where he leads the Cowboys on a deep playoff run or inserts himself into the MVP conversation with his play, his price will skyrocket to a point the Cowboys will pay through gritted teeth or choose to pass on and start over at the most important position in the game.

Time will tell if Dak wants to leave Dallas or find a way to make a long-term deal work. But in the meantime, Dak is the captain now and Jerry Jones is going to be forced to play by his rules.

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