Undoubtedly, the biggest question mark hanging above the Dallas Cowboys this offseason is the future of their quarterback, Dak Prescott. After signing the exclusive franchise tag last season, Prescott is once again scheduled to become the NFL’s top free agent in March.
And while the Cowboys aren’t expected to allow their five-year veteran passer to hit the open market, it’s currently unclear how they will elect to retain him. Dallas could use the franchise tag once again, but likely risk alienating Prescott in doing so. The other option is to negotiate a long-term deal, something they haven’t been able to get done for nearly two years.
Complicating those negotiations currently is the expected drop in the league’s salary cap in 2021 due to the pandemic and the fact Prescott is still recovering from a season-ending ankle injury that limited the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback to a mere five games last year. Those five games with Dak under center cost the Cowboys $31.4 million.
Tagging Prescott again this offseason would come at a cost of nearly $37.7 million. While Dak is likely in line to receive more than that amount per year as part of a contract extension, how that deal is structured could provide Dallas with some much-needed cap relief. Although there’s a real question how much relief it can provide with the expected decrease in cap space coming and a laundry list of roster needs to be filled this offseason.
But one former NFL quarterback believes the answer could be Prescott simply electing to take less money on a new deal. Here’s what Carson Palmer told Shan and RJ on 105.3 The Fan during a radio interview on Thursday about Dak factoring in his elite position on America’s Team into his ongoing contract negotiations.
"“I love Dak’s game. I think he’s great. I think he shouldn’t shoot for the moon (on his next contract). Being the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, there’s a lot that comes with that financially. So, you don’t have to be the top-paid quarterback in the league. You can make as much as the top-paid quarterback in the league when you’re the Dallas Cowboys quarterback if you do take less.”"
Palmer would go on to point out other former Cowboys quarterbacks like Tony Romo and Troy Aikman who have been able to leverage their popularity as players into successful post-careers.
One former player who doesn’t agree with Palmer’s take is tight end Martellus Bennett, whom the Cowboys drafted in the second round out of Texas A&M back in 2008. Bennett responded on Twitter and believes strongly that the team should ‘drive the brinks truck into the locker room‘ for Prescott.
Whether Dak Prescott elects to take less money or not, fans of the Dallas Cowboys would likely prefer that the entire ordeal be done with so the team’s franchise quarterback can be secured for the foreseeable future.
Martellus Bennett is right. It isn’t Dak’s job to manage the salary cap. It’s to win ball games. And if he’s ultimately unable to do the latter, no one will be happy regardless of how much he makes.