Cowboys 1-on-1: Stephen Jones on Dak, 'Acrimony' & 'The Pie'

A Dallas Cowboys Exclusive As COO Stephen Jones Talks With CowboysSI.com On The Subject of Contract Negotiations With QB Dak Prescott, 'Acrimony' & 'The Pie'
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FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys management has in the last year often analogized the NFL salary cap to a "pie.'' In CowboysSI.com's weekend 1-on-1 with COO Stephen Jones, the reference was made again as it relates to the team's contract negotiations with Dak Prescott.

"We are spending the same amount in total on players' salaries,'' Jones tells us, "regardless of what we spend on Dak.''

In other words: The size of the pie is $198.2 million (the 2020 cap for each team). Jones notes that he and father Jerry "aren't saving money for the Jones family'' by avoiding overspending on one player - and this is a critical point that needs flushing out.

The Cowboys used the exclusive franchise tag of $31.409 million on Prescott for 2020. If he ends up playing on that tag (which Prescott has yet to sign), that leaves $166,791,000 to spend on the rest of the roster. ...

Meaning Dak would take up 15.84 percent of the cap - lots of pie.

Jones declined to provide us with his idea of a "magic percentage'' that would be acceptable. But he did recently tell ProFootballTalk.com, "There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, that it decreases your chances to win. We’re just trying to figure out the right fit.''

We, meanwhile, are trying to figure out - while being aware of the NFL's mythical "13.1-Percent Guideline'' (stay tuned, story forthcoming) - what that "right'' percentage might be. Obviously, should Prescott sign a deal similar to what we're reported is on the table (five years at $35 million APY with more than $106 guaranteed), the "$35 million'' figure can be distributed in a way that reduces that "pie percentage'' for 2020.

"That is what we're working on,'' Jones says, reiterating the organization's faith that Prescott can be a centerpiece of a Super Bowl contender.

Jones also stressed to us that it's "very important'' to him that negotiations - in public and in private - are conducted as much as possible "without acrimony.''

"Dak knows this,'' Jones said. "We all know the goal is to divide up that pie in a way that helps us win.''