Dak Prescott signs franchise tender; Dallas Cowboys getting a steal

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Dak Prescott signs his franchise tender, which is a steal for the Dallas Cowboys

The drama surrounding the contract negotiations between the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott dominated the offseason chatter, but now the star quarterback has reportedly signed his franchise tender. In doing so, Prescott will earn $31.409 million for the 2020-21 NFL season.

By no means is $31 million anything to scoff at but it’s also lower than the reported annual value Prescott was seeking with a long term contract. And when you look at what other quarterbacks are earning around the league, it’s easy to see why the Cowboys are the true winners in this situation.

According to Over the Cap, Prescott’s $31.4 million will make him the seventh highest-paid quarterback on a per year basis — but it’s only for one season. He has no safety net beyond the next season and isn’t even among the top five highest earners at the position. Here’s how the contracts breakdown among quarterbacks in terms of average money per year:

  1. Russell Wilson: $35M ($107M guaranteed)
  2. Ben Roethlisberger: $34M ($50M guaranteed)
  3. Aaron Rodgers: $33.5M ($98.2M guaranteed)
  4. Jared Goff: $33.5M ($110M guaranteed)
  5. Kirk Cousins: $33M ($96M guaranteed)
  6. Carson Wentz: $32M ($107.8M guaranteed)
  7. Dak Prescott: $31.4M (franchise tag)
  8. Matt Ryan: $30M ($100M guaranteed)

Not only are these other quarterbacks getting paid more per season but they are also guaranteed a lot more. Other talented quarterbacks in the league, like Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Garoppolo, may be earning less annually, but they have the comfort of guaranteed money. Prescott will be playing to prove himself despite four successful seasons in Dallas.

How the Dallas Cowboys are getting an absolute steal for Dak Prescott

Let’s be perfectly clear, Prescott is hardly the only quarterback to not be paid what he probably deserves. There are plenty of young, talented quarterbacks in the NFL still playing on their rookie contracts. Just look at Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

As I’ve said in the past, NFL salaries, especially at the quarterback position, aren’t so much dictated on actual talent as they are timing. This list is a prime example of how market value supersedes on-the-field accomplishments.

While you can make the case for Wilson, Roethlisberger and Rodgers to be among the highest paid based on their accomplishments and talent, it’s hard to say the same about Goff, Cousins and Wentz. The Cowboys may not have had the success as a team but Prescott has statistically outshined these quarterbacks.

I don’t think anyone outside of Prescott’s camp believes he’s actually worth the $40 million he was reportedly seeking but there’s a case to be made that he’s worth more than the $31.4 million he’ll get with the franchise tag — especially as the market value for the position increases every season. It will almost certainly jump with Patrick Mahomes next season as he’s likely to be paid upwards of $40 million per season.

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In my opinion, Dak Prescott should be valued somewhere between what Mahomes will get and what Aaron Rodgers currently is getting. This doesn’t mean he’s a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers; but, from a pure market perspective, $35 million is probably the fairest deal for both sides. Right now, at $31.4M for one season, the Cowboys are getting an absolute steal.