FRISCO - This is already being misinterpreted as being "contract-related,'' and that's a shame, because there was never really any doubt that Dak Prescott was going to rehab just fine from his ankle surgery and re-position himself to get the same contract he was going to get before the NFL Week 5 injury.
But other than the expected misinterpretations, it is good news.
"Based on the work he's put in, what they think, he's going to come back better than ever," Ian Rapoport said Saturday on NFL GameDay Morning.
It's been three months since Prescott's horrific, season-ending ankle injury. While the Cowboys have wobbled on the field - the 6-10 finish is a direct result of the physical and emotional absence of their centerpiece player - the organization has never wobbled in its commitment to retaining Dak.
Rap's report, really, is a confirmation of what COO Stephen Jones already told us.
"He's been able to avoid any setbacks," Jones said. "If anything, he's ahead of schedule - which shouldn't be surprising, the way he goes after every challenge. It's full speed ahead with Dak, and he's done a great job to this point."
Rapoport reported Prescott is walking, working on an anti-gravity treadmill and in a HydroWorx pool, which removes most of the pressure and weight from his ankle while still allowing him to exercise his way into shape.
The original prognosis for Prescott following the gruesome injury was a four-month rehab. If Dak is truly "ahead of schedule,'' he should be ready to go in the spring.
At the same time, "better than ever'' may be a bit much. It's difficult to imagine that Prescott will somehow improve as a player, physically, as a result of ankle rehab. So it would be enough that he simply return to the form that merited Dallas offering him a five-year deal worth $35 million APY ... which he turned down to instead play on the $31.4 million franchise tag.
And it would be enough to end the contract dispute as soon as possible, with what logically figures to be another long-term offer (with Prescott preferring fewer years) that approaches $40 million APY.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently suggested that Prescott "has (all) the leverage'' in negotiations. And Stephen Jones noted, "Dak's our quarterback and we're so fired up about him and him leading us in the future. We're fired up about our future with Dak."