At every turn, the Dallas Cowboys front office has endorsed Dak Prescott as the franchise quarterback of the now and future.
This offseason will go a long way towards determining how long Prescott retains that mantle. Though under contract through the 2024 season, he has a $59.45 million cap hit next season due to multiple restructures of his current deal.
Hashing out a contract extension is the easiest path to lowering that number. The last time Prescott was up for a new contract, though, it was famously dragged out. He was ultimately franchise tagged twice before he inked a four-year, $160 million deal that included $90 million guaranteed.
As a result, the Cowboys cost themselves a ton of money. Prescott was smart to bet on himself, so credit to him, but Dallas can't make the same mistake twice.
If ESPN insider Todd Archer's intel is accurate, though, it's trending that way and the Cowboys risk overpaying the QB in the process.
Cowboys Rumors: Dak Prescott extension negotiations could drag out in offseason
While the Cowboys fully intend on extending Prescott, Archer fully expects negotiations to get stretched out again.
"Ideally, the Cowboys would sign him to an extension in the offseason to lower that cap number and allow the team to add more playmakers to the roster, but negotiations for his current deal took a lot longer than expected, and it's possible things stretch out again. It should be noted that Prescott has no-trade and no-franchise-tag clauses in his current deal."- ESPN's Todd Archer
That's not what Cowboys fans wanted to hear.
Multiple franchise QBs inked big-money extensions this past offseason. That includes the Eagles' Jalen Hurts, the Ravens' Lamar Jackson, the Chargers' Justin Herbert and most recently, Bengals starter Joe Burrow, respectively.
Hurts got a five-year, $255 million extension, Jackson inked a five-year, $260 million contract, Herbert got $262.5 million over five years and Burrow (deservedly, some would say) topped them all with his $275 million contract, which will pay him $55 million annually.
Prescott's deal should fall in the $50-55 million range. It's unclear how much he'll demand -- that'll depend on how he finishes the season -- but the QB market is ever-evolving. The Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence is next up on the contract totem pole. The list ends there, so it's not lik there's another group of QBs waiting to reset the market.
That's good news for the Cowboys, but it also means Prescott won't be rushed into signing a new deal. The longer the negotiation process takes, though, the more likely it is that Dallas overpays the two-time Pro Bowler and the less flexibility the front office will have to upgrade the roster.