Jerry Jones' fingerprints are all over terrifying Dak Prescott contract update

August 10, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) and owner Jerry
August 10, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) and owner Jerry / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Is there an owner in professional sports better at stirring the pot than Jerry Jones? Say what you will about Jones' commitment to winning a Super Bowl, or lack thereof, but the Dallas Cowboys owner has mastered the art of propelling his team to the summit of the news cycle.

It happened again on Tuesday, albeit in horrifying fashion, when we received an update on Dak Prescott's contract situation. Per reports, the Cowboys have not made an offer to Prescott, with Jones adding that "We are where we are, locked and loaded for next year."

This is essentially Dallas clearing the path for Prescott to hit free agency in 2025, setting up a potential bidding war with other teams. Given how the Joneses have approached free agency and bidding wars in the past, odds are it won't have an happy ending.

This update sparked panic and outrage from Cowboys fans. However, this could be a classic case of Jones negotiating through the media.

Dak Prescott's worrying contract update could be classic Jerry Jones negotiation tactic

Look, Jerry and Stephen Jones form one of the most incompetent front offices in professional sports. That much is obvious. The former also knows how to manipulate the media. It's admittedly pathetic that Jones thinks negotiating through the media holds any value, but this could be a classic case of the owner trying to establish leverage over a contract-needy player.

Granted, there's little (if any) leverage to be made with Prescott, who has a no-trade and no-tag clause in his current contract. He also has a $54 million cap hit for 2024. Even if the Cowboys extend CeeDee Lamb before Dak, they won't clear enough cap space to sign their 2024 draft class and sign free agents after the draft.

Mike McCarthy essentially admitted to ESPN's Adam Schefter that Dallas will be players in the post-June 1 cut market.

For all the wrong buttons the Joneses have pushed over the years, do you really think think they're so caught up in the bottom line that they'd flirt with losing their franchise QB -- the team's best since Troy Aikman -- for basically nothing and watch him potentially win a Super Bowl with another club?

Rapoport's initial tweet lacked context. Per Nick Harris of DallasCowboys dot com, the team and Prescott have had discussions about an extension. With free agency in the rearview mirror, there's little urgency on both sides to get a deal done.

If Prescott left as a free agent next offseason, he'd leave behind a $40.5 million dead cap hit in 2025. It's not like the Cowboys would reset the money at the position. We don't think the 81-year-old Jones wants to punt on a season while he has Lamb, Trevon Diggs and (likely) Micah Parsons tied to big-money deals.

Maybe Dallas is actually laying the groundwork to move on from Prescott. Or maybe, this is a classic Jerry Jones negotiation tactic. We hate to give this front office the benefit of the doubt, but we tend to side with the latter.

Whether it happens around training camp or early 2025 -- which is seemingly a real possibility -- we'd be shocked if Prescott doesn't sign an extension.

It's human nature to overreact to such an explosive report, but let's not forget who's pulling the strings.

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