The Dallas Cowboys slapped quarterback Dak Prescott with the exclusive franchise tag. Now, the next three dates are essential to consider for 2020.
Dak Prescott isn’t going anywhere. The real question for the Dallas Cowboys is this: Will the quarterback step foot on Dallas turf without a new contract? The Cowboys made the move to use the exclusive franchise tag yesterday, which surprised nobody, but the pieces of the puzzle are far from completion.
We know Prescott, who threw for nearly 5,000 yards last season, isn’t leaving Big D in 2020. The concern now? When and if he’ll show up with the franchise tag in place. Now that the first major domino fell, let’s consider these three important dates.
1. April 6, 2020
The Dallas Cowboys will begin the offseason program three weeks from now. Dak Prescott is heading into his fifth year in the NFL. He has not missed any of the four previous programs since joining the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Since then, Prescott has started all 64 regular-season games. For his career, he owns a 65.8 completion percentage, nearly 16,000 passing yards, a 97 touchdown to 36 interception ratio. For his rushing career, he’s taken off 241 times for 1,221 yards and 21 scores.
Here’s the dilemma. If Prescott sits out like running back Ezekiel Elliott did in 2019, will the starting quarterback slip into a black hole and see his numbers slide? Remember, Lawrence missed some time as well due to surgery and also had a drop off in 2019 in terms of numbers.
The Cowboys were dealt with big blows by both star players last season, who couldn’t produce numbers Dallas was accustomed to. If Dak Prescott misses time, starting on April 6, the top Dallas brass might grow anxious.
2. June of 2020
The mandatory minicamp may get pushed back, which depends on the disruption of the coronavirus. But until we know more, the next major date occurs this June. The Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to meet in June for minicamp and to be clear, it is mandatory.
If Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys can’t agree on a new contract by this date, things could turn sour for the team. First, head coach Mike McCarthy is in his rookie season with the Cowboys. He’ll need his starting quarterback to be there. On a positive note, the offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, is returning.
Prescott won’t need to learn a new offense or reestablish his smarts in a new language, but again, you have to worry about his relationship efforts with the new coach. Don’t forget, McCarthy has experience with quarterbacks of Hall of Fame pedigree, such as Joe Montana, Brett Favre and when he retires, Aaron Rodgers.
The sooner Prescott can soak up McCarthy’s knowledge, the better it is for him and Dallas. Prescott is as durable as it comes for an NFL player. Will missing time hurt Prescott down the road? The quarterback turns 27 in July.
3. July 15, 2020
If the Dallas Cowboys can’t find the right number with Dak Prescott by this date, the starting quarterback will have to play under the franchise tag in 2020. Since the Cowboys decided to go with the exclusive tag, the ‘Boys will have to pony up $33 million for the quarterback’s services in 2020.
That’s a lot of money for one season, but the circumstance is vital when you consider that this franchise tag is a one-year lease. Essentially, the organization will be right back where they started with Prescott this time next year in 2021. The only difference being is that the franchise tag price will be higher.
Dak Prescott has been the face of the franchise on and off the field since 2016. He has said the right things, did the right things and led the team by example. With the Cowboys slapping him with a franchise tag, he may reverse his car and head in the opposite direction by sitting out.
Neither Dallas or Prescott are showing their cards in this high stake sweepstakes. But the major dates listed above will force the parties to show some of their cards.