Rumored timeline for Dak Prescott extension is best-case scenario for Cowboys

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The new league year doesn't start for another month, but the Dallas Cowboys are working on a deadline. While extensions for CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons won't come until the summer, Dak Prescott's extension needs to happen sooner rather than later.

The toxic discourse surrounding Prescott has tapered off as we've gotten further removed from the Cowboys' wild card loss to the Packers. Make no mistake, though: It will make an uninvited return once he signs a new contract.

Media members have debated whether the Cowboys should extend Prescott. It makes for an interesting conversation, but the front office's hands are tied due to the language of Prescott's current deal.

The Cowboys are nearly $20 million over the salary cap and extending Prescott is the quickest avenue to getting under the threshold. Luckily, it seems that Jerry Jones understands the urgency to get Dak's deal done.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport believes the Cowboys will sign their quarterback to a new deal before the start of free agency.

Cowboys expected to extend Dak Prescott before start of free agency

If Rapoport's timeline is accurate, the Cowboys will have ample resources to entice free agents by the start of the legal tampering period.

According to Over The Cap, a Prescott extension would lower his cap charge to a manageable $26.23 million. That would put Dallas some $6 million under the cap with room to add more via contract restructures, releasing players from their contracts and negotiating more extensions.

With key players like Tyron Smith and Stephon Gilmore hitting free agency, the Cowboys need to lower Prescott's cap hit. He negotiated a no-tag clause in his current deal as well as a no-trade clause, so he has Dallas hanging over a barrel in terms of leverage.

The Cowboys have two options at their disposal: Either extend Prescott or ride out the 2024 season with his paralyzing $59 million cap hit. They could restructure his current contract, but that would coincide with letting him hit free agency next offseason.

Say what you will about Prescott's playoff resume, but he just finished second in MVP voting. He had a spectacular season by all accounts and would have myriad suitors on the open market. It's not like the Cowboys have a surefire succession plan in place. That would make this a different conversation. Trey Lance has upside in that regard, but at this point it's unknown if he can be a consistent starter in the NFL.

Prescott signing a record-setting deal will ruffle feathers both amongst Cowboys nation and the national media, but lest we forget this is the front office's fault. He likely would've already inked a new deal if they didn't prolong his initial negotiation after his rookie deal expired.

Regardless, expect Prescott to have a new deal in place before March 14.

More Cowboys news and analysis