Tagging Dak Prescott the better option following Patrick Mahomes deal?

Are the Dallas Cowboys more likely to use the franchise tag path for Dak Prescott following Patrick Mahomes deal?

Did the Dallas Cowboys make a monumental mistake waiting to sign their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, to a long term deal? That seems to be the overall sentiment following the record-breaking 10-year, $503 million extension (according to NFL.com) the Kansas City Chiefs signed their young passer, Patrick Mahomes, to on Monday.

For months, the Cowboys and Prescott have been locked in contract negotiations in which we’ve seen very little momentum as their July 15 deadline approaches. A fourth-rounder back in 2016, Dak’s rookie contract expired this offseason, forcing Dallas to use their exclusive franchise tag to retain him in 2020.

Late last month, Prescott signed that tag which will pay him $31.4 million in 2020. The two sides now have just over a week to get a long term extension signed or Dak will play on the one-year deal in Dallas with the threat of free agency again looming next offseason.

Many have been critical of how the Cowboys have handled Prescott’s contract negotiations as their delays have seemingly only cost them more leverage and ultimately more salary-cap space. And some have even referenced the Washington Redskins’ mishandling of their former quarterback, Kirk Cousins, and his contract situation.

Is tagging Dak Prescott like Kirk Cousins now the better option?

Back in 2017, Cousins became the first quarterback in NFL history to be franchise tagged in back-to-back seasons as the team and his representatives failed to agree to a long term deal. He’d earned nearly $44 million during that two-year span. In 2018, Cousins ended up leaving Washington as a free agent, signing a three-year, $84 million deal to join the Minnesota Vikings, and becoming the highest-paid player in league history at the time.

The Cousins’ franchise tag storyline is often told as a cautionary tale as Washington has struggled at the quarterback position ever since. Yet, perhaps the recent Mahomes’ extension makes this approach a more attractive path for the Cowboys to take when it comes to Prescott.

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Prescott’s $31.4 million price tag for 2020 is an even better deal after Mahomes reset the market this week averaging a whopping $45 million a season according to OverTheCap.com. It was estimated that Dak’s salary under an additional franchise tag in 2021 could be just over $37 million, which seemed exorbitant … until today.

Throw in the possibility that the NFL’s salary cap could actually decrease next year (and beyond) following the unknown impact of a worldwide pandemic, and the Dallas Cowboys may decide taking the Kirk Cousins’ approach to the Dak Prescott contract situation is the more attractive option at this point.