FRISCO - We - as fans and media - so often forget: It's not our money.
The money in the NFL belongs to the owners, the players, the agents and the cap. We often fall into the trap of presumptuously thinking otherwise, especially when we play the guessing games of "What Will It Take?'' and "Here's All They Need To Do!''
ProFootballTalk.com has fallen victim to the game, as all of us have at different points, when it comes to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
"So what will it take?'' writes PFT. "Four years, $130 million would result in an average of $32.5 million. ... (and) a $60 million signing bonus.''
For Cowboys fans who want a resolution (and for all involved who want a resolution quickly, so Dallas can have a better grip on its financial state as it moves forward with other business)? This sounds fine.
*Last year's Dallas proposal was five years. Who says the Cowboys are prepared to reduce that?
*Last year, agent Todd France wanted a four-year deal for his client so Prescott could take another bite of the contractual apple as quickly as was reasonable following the 2022 expiration of the NFL's TV deal, which, when newly negotiated, will cause the cap - and stars' salaries - to explode upward.
Who says this year France won't again propose a contract that follows the same path - meaning a three-year deal? Or less?
*Last year's Dallas proposal features about $110 million in guarantees, as CowboysSI.com was the first to write. Why is a "$60 million signing bonus'' significant?
*And most of all ... Last year's Dallas proposal, as CowboysSI.com was the first to write, was worth an annual average of $35 million. Why would Dak Prescott agree to accept almost $8 million annually less than he was offered a year ago?
PFT's reasoning, it seems, is "compromise.'' That would be lovely, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already stated the obvious regarding that issue, noting that Dak "has (all) the leverage.''
The fact is, people with knowledge of where this negotiation is going see the APY number being higher, not lower. Given that the franchise-tag salary for Dak will be $38 million should no long-term deal be forged, and that in 2022 he will either be tagged again at about $54 million (unlikely) or allowed to go free ("He will break the bank,'' as one well-placed source puts it to us), what - besides goodwill - would motivate Prescott's side to take less than was already offered?
We already know that the salary-cap part of this is manageable; our working number on Dak's 2021 cap impact, with a long-term deal that averages about $40 million APY, is $25 million. If Dallas could get that sort of number locked in before tagging him on March 9, the Cowboys could "sleep well'' (as Troy Aikman told us) and go shopping.
But from Dak's financial perspective? He can make $38 million this year plus $54 million in 2022 (tagged) and then hit the market in 2023 when $40 million APY will be a "bargain'' for a bidder. That's $172 million over four years.
Why should Dak sign for four years in Dallas for PFT's "$130 million'' when what actually awaits him is four years and "$172 million''? To "compromise'' and "cooperate'' and be a nice guy?
There are ways to "compromise'' here, but most of them focus on giving Dak the shorter-term deal he desires. The "voidable years'' concept is one of those, though that's just a cap trick - but yes, it's a helpful idea.
But this proposal from PFT is essentially one that suggests Prescott should "compromise'' by hurrying to sign a contract that is arguably under-market and inarguably under what he's already been offered. In that sense, such a proposal is not only presumptuous, but worse, it would take negotiations backward - when the Cowboys and Prescott are having a difficult enough time moving forward as is.
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