At what point do the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott fall ‘out of love?’ Let's explore in First and 10 ...
1. Out Of Love?
Is it Tuesday, when the Cowboys will inevitably put the franchise tag on Prescott for the second straight season?
Is it mid-July, when the Cowboys and Prescott reach an impasse on a long-term contract for the second straight season and Prescott shows up to play on a $37 million guaranteed contract?
Is it when the Cowboys draft a potential successor to Prescott in April, let him stew for a year while putting up fantastic numbers, and then let him walk in 2022?
For the past few weeks our Mike Fisher and the rest of the CowboysSI.com staff have kept you up-to-date on every scenario, everything from the realistic and actionable to the unrealistic and fantastical (no, the Cowboys aren’t going to trade Ezekiel Elliott to Seattle for Russell Wilson and then cut Prescott. That’s just crazy talk. But you need to KNOW it’s crazy talk).
But, on Tuesday, we are likely to enter a new phase in this saga. Sure, once the tag is applied, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, COO Stephen Jones, Prescott’s agent Todd France, and Prescott himself will want to put a positive spin on this.
In a negotiation in which Jones HIMSELF has said ON THE RECORD that Prescott has ‘all the leverage,’ how else can Jones put any sort of pressure on Prescott to agree to a long-term deal?
There may be no way to do so at this point. Prescott has every reason to ask to be among the game’s highest-paid players. And he has every reason to sit out if he doesn’t get what he wants.
The Cowboys may have to do what former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum suggested earlier this week — draft a replacement.
Jones has had three ‘ride-or-die’ quarterbacks in his time in Dallas — Troy Aikman, Tony Romo and Prescott.
Remember how unprepared the Cowboys were when Troy Aikman retired, despite all of his concussions and back issues? It sunk the franchise.
At least the Cowboys learned from that mistakes and drafted Prescott in 2016 as a bridge away from the Romo era. And then Romo got hurt. And then Prescott got REALLY good. And then Romo retired. Was that the plan? Or was it dumb luck?
Either way, the Cowboys are about to back themselves into a corner. Or maybe they’re already there? I mean, we really don’t know what’s being said between the parties at this point.
Tannenbaum’s point was this — if the Cowboys can’t get a long-term deal done, then they have to find Prescott’s replacement. And it makes sense, especially when you consider the history of quarterbacks that have been tagged twice. Well, it’s a short history. Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was tagged twice by Washington and now he’s with the Vikings, so, yeah, that worked out. For Cousins. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ last franchise tag experience with Demarcus Lawrence eventually worked out. The Cowboys tagged him in 2018, and then tagged him again in 2019, but got a long-term deal done.
But everything is different when it’s the quarterback. That’s your franchise. Having the wrong player at that position can set a franchise back for years. Letting the RIGHT quarterback get away can set the franchise back for years. And if that’s the path the Cowboys want to go down, then they must, indeed, draft a quarterback this year. And not some run-of-the-mill, late-round flier like a Shane Buechele. No, the Cowboys have to spend high, probably in the first round. The Cowboys have too many weapons on offense and a closing door of reliability on its offensive line to trust it to Ben DiNucci, or even Andy Dalton.
But this all depends on when the Cowboys and Prescott fall ‘out of love.’ They should both remember that breakups, especially in the NFL, are hard to do.
2. This Week in Dak
We’re coming up on the franchise tag tender deadline, and we had all kinds of information about Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys and the future.
Would Dak 'Guaranteed' 3-Year Deal - With Cap Trick - Be Cowboys Compromise?
As Tuesday's deadline to tag Prescott looms, get ready to hear more about this idea: A three-year contract, with two voidable years tacked on, all of which makes Dak the second-highest-paid player in NFL history.
It’s been theorized that Dak Prescott should somehow feel “disrespected” due to the contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys dragging on as they have - especially as he’s spent the last two seasons watching teammates like Ezekiel Elliott and Demarcus Lawrence and La'el Collins and Jaylon Smith get paid. Listen up on the Blitzcast.
If No Dak Deal, Cowboys Must Draft QB Now - Ex NFL GM
"They absolutely have to draft Dak's replacement,'' former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum says, "If they don't get a long-term deal done.''
Cowboys 'Let Dak Go' As Free Agent? 'No Chance'
There are obstacles here. But there are solutions here. "Let Dak go'' would represent a case of the poorest asset management in NFL history.
‘Dump Dak, Trade Zeke For Russ'? 10 Steps Through Zany Cowboys Media Idea
The Cowboys 'dump Dak' and 'trade Zeke' and get Russell Wilson? Is the idea stupid? Let's play "Show Your Work'' and find out, in 10 exploratory steps.
3. Cowboys Draft Tracker
It’s 2021 NFL Draft season. And CowboyMaven and FanNation has its Cowboys Draft Tracker up and running. Throughout the ramp-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ll be updating the tracker with mock drafts from around the Internet — ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, Fox Sports and all the others. You can find it all in one convenient place right here.
Meanwhile, check out this draft coverage from CowboyMaven and other partner sites:
NFL Draft Tracker: Cowboys 3 Rounds, 4 Picks, New-Look Defense: Draft analyst Matt Miller offers his Mock Draft 2.0 in which he predicts the first three rounds.
NFL Draft: Should Cowboys Trade Up For TE Kyle Pitts? What if Dak stays in place, and what if Tyron Smith and a healthy offensive line remains intact ... and the Cowboys add arguably the most uniquely-talented player in this draft?
Cowboys NFL Draft Connection With Penei Sewell? Imagine top left tackle Penei Sewell protecting Dak Prescott's blind side.
The NFL Draft Bible Team has assembled for a first-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft. In this SUPER SHOW, the team takes on the role of GM and makes all 32 first-round selections.
The 2021 NFL Scouting Combine will look a lot different this year. What can you expect?
4. Looking for Cap Space
The Dallas Cowboys purposely build "triggers'' into their big deals with big players with the intent on flipping those triggers if they are ever in a salary-cap crunch.
Such a crunch is coming due to the plan to retain, in some form Dak Prescott. And so, a source tells CowboysSI.com, such a trigger-flip is coming with DeMarcus Lawrence.
What could the ‘trigger-flip’ look like? Our Mike Fisher has the details, not only on Lawrence but some other contracts that could provide the Cowboys come extra cap room.
5. Trading Michael Gallup. A Sensible Approach.
It's odd how often Michael Gallup's name comes up in NFL trade discussions — discussions by media members, that is. At this moment, however, it might make more sense than ever before.
It doesn’t mean there’s a deal in the offing. But as our Mike Fisher broke it down, there are sensible and logical reasons for considering such a move.
6. A Cowboys and McCoy Reunion?
Last year, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was supposed to be a cornerstone of the defensive line in 2020. But, during training camp, that changed. His quad injury ended his season, and the Cowboys released him.
But could McCoy come BACK to the Cowboys in 2021? Mike Fisher wrote a piece earlier this week, and I’m not sure how many Cowboys fans know just how much McCoy impressed the Cowboys last season, even after he was hurt.
7. Moving Robinson Around
Reggie Robinson II, a "pet cat'' of Dallas Cowboys personnel boss Will McClay, is going to find his way on the field — at one position or another.
That’s what Fish wrote earlier this week. Robinson, selected last season in the NFL Draft, will be moving back to cornerback in 2021.
Robinson was a cornerback in college at Tulsa. When he came to the Cowboys in 2020, he started as a cornerback, and then midway through the season the Cowboys moved him to safety.
OK, show of hands? Did anyone know that? Hard to blame you. As Fish explains, Robinson didn’t exactly get a chance to prove himself there in 2020.
8. Cowboys WATCH: Legend DeMarcus Ware Still Has NFL Ups
I’m not sure what ‘NFL Ups” are, well, DeMarcus Ware, the former Cowboys defensive end has them. Just read the story and watch the video.
9. Tiger Woods Injury Compared To Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
The word most people used when describing Dak Prescott’s 2020 injury is "gruesome.''
But the praise being given to the Dallas Cowboys' medical staff for its quick in-game reaction when the quarterback was hurt in Week 5 sounds something closer to "awesome'' - especially when NBC sports medicine analyst Mike Ryan, a former NFL head athletic trainer, makes a Tiger Woods comparison. More from our Mike Fisher here.
10. Tweet Of The Week