FRISCO - As the latest rumor goes, unsigned QB Dak Prescott is "asking for somewhere like north of $45 million in that fifth year'' in order to finalize the long-term deal being offered him by the Dallas Cowboys.
That sounds ... incendiary. Depending on the details, it is actually nothing of the sort.
"From what I know of the situation, and I know from some people who are in the know that he's been offered five years, $175 million,'' NFL QB-turned-analyst Chris Simms told 105.3 The Fan's "K & C Masterpiece'' on Tuesday. "He wants a four-year deal. If they do agree to a five-year deal they would like a really big number at the end of that fifth year to cover their butts for what the market might be at the position five years from now. And I've heard he's asking for somewhere like north of $45 million in that fifth year.''
Let's bullet-point what Simms is saying here:
*I know from some people who are in the know that he's been offered five years, $175 million.'' - Respectfully, everyone who listens to The Fan or reads this space is "in the know'' on these numbers ... because we've been reporting them for weeks.
The way we keep writing it: "Five years at $35 million APY with more than $106 guaranteed.'' Now do the math: 5 x 35 is ... Yup. That's $175 million.
*"He wants a four-year deal.'' - We've also reported that. It is accurate, the reason being the shorter-term deal allows the player a quicker second bite of the contractual apple following the 2022 end of the existing TV contract with the league, at which point the salary cap - and stars' wages - will skyrocket.
*"If they do agree to a five-year deal they would like a really big number at the end of that fifth year to cover their butts for what the market might be at the position five years from now.'' - Viable, though it's worth noting that a) these contracts are usually constructed with an "escape hatch'' that would allow the team to dump the player late in the deal and that b) Dak would be only 31 entering the fifth season, and ideally there would be no reason to dump a "star QB.''
*"I've heard he's asking for somewhere like north of $45 million in that fifth year.'' - This is the tricky one, because it sounds like a flashpoint ... that may not be all that flashy at all.
Best-case scenario: The desire for $45 million in Year 5 can easily be accomplished within the framework of the existing offer. The Cowboys can say, "$45 mil in Year 5 is important to you? OK: Your salaries will be $25 mil + $35 mil + $35 mil + $35 mil + $45 mil.''
"Done. Sign here.''
You see, that adds up to the same "five years, $175 million'' that we're reporting is already on the table. And frankly, why would the player want it back-loaded? That part of Simms' information is confounding.
What Prescott agent Todd France is suggesting is this: Dak will take the four-year framework at $35 million ... and if Dallas wants the fifth year, the Cowboys must tack on $45 million more. Not "back-loaded.'' Not "in the fifth year'' but rather "as a reward, included in the overall deal, for doing the fifth year.''
Now do that math: 4 x $35 million = $140 million. Tack on another year and another $45 million = $185 million.
Meaning, in marrying Simms' rumor with our facts, Prescott is asking that a five-year agreement pay him $185 million.
Which equals $37 million a year. Which means the Cowboys (offering $35 million APY) are $2 mil per year away from an agreement.
The Cowboys have their "pie'' concerns, as COO Stephen Jones discussed with me here. But this five-year deal can be structured so Dallas stays out of too many "13.1-Percent Myth'' danger zones. And if they truly believe in the player, as they've established with both their five-year offer and their franchise tag offer of $31.409 million?
The Cowboys want five years at $35 mil per, and Dak will do five years at $37 mil per. That gap seems solvable.