BREAKING: Cowboys 'Hopeful' As Talks Open With Dak Prescott

The franchise-tag window opens on Tuesday - but in a very literal sense, at this moment, Dallas cannot "afford'' to tag Dak
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FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys, aware of the deadline milestones that are approaching quickly, have opened talks with Dak Prescott’s agent and, a source tells CowboysSI.com, are "hopeful'' of sealing a long-term deal before the franchise-tag deadline of March 9.

The Cowboys and their star QB have been entangled in negotiations for over two years. with agent Todd France a driving force in last year’s decision by Prescott to turn down Dallas offer of a five-year, $175 million contract to instead play on the $31.4 million tag.

The two sides could settle on this year’s tag as well, though doing so would create a cap clog for Dallas.

The franchise-tag window opens on Tuesday - but in a very literal sense, at this moment, Dallas cannot "afford'' to tag him. The Cowboys have two weeks to create an agreement. Without that, Prescott will by the next deadline of Match 9 be given a second tag, this one coming at a cost of $37.7 million.

But in addition to the financial burden of that salary being squeezed into the $180 million cap, there is the “clog”: While the two parties can continue to negotiate to July 15 (another deadline after which time there can be no more negotiating and Prescott will be locked in at the $37.7 million), that $37.7 million placeholder against the cap allows Dallas - which presently has just $14 million of room - virtually zero flexibility when it comes to doing additional business.

The Cowboys can and will create some restructures and maybe even some drastic cuts to help. They will also surely consider some “doomsday” scenarios if they come to the realization that Prescott’s side will not budge. Those could include not “letting Dak walk” (that could happen after this season when a third tag would be financially prohibitive), but rather a trade.

READ MORE: Cowboys Roundtable: Would you Trade Dak For 3 Firsts?

But a divorce is not the stated goal, for either side. While ESPN has noted that the present "talks'' might represent something short of negotiations, public discussion has made the wishes clear: Prescott has insisted he wants to be a “Cowboy for Life” and Jerry and Stephen Jones have professed their commitment to Dak as the team’s “leader” and its “future.”

But talking about it hasn’t created movement. Only talking within the involved parties can do that. And now, facing deadlines, those talks - amid "hope'' - are underway.

CONTINUE READING: Dak & The Cap: Drastic Dallas Cowboys Contract Moves To Make Room