FRISCO - In an admission that Cowboys Nation would love to believe will speed peaceful negotiations, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is conceding that unsigned QB Dak Prescott is in a powerful position.
"I don't know how you can have any more leverage,'' Jones conceded.
COO Stephen Jones has already detailed to 105.3 The Fan this week that the quarterback's contract is "at the top" of the team's offseason to-do list. So there is no disagreement there. And even while there can continue to be a disagreement about years and money for the franchise-tagged QB - as we reported in the fall, Dallas offered their star quarterback a five-year deal with an average of $35 million per year with $106 million in virtual guarantees, with agent Todd France holding firm in his ask of a four-year contract to allow his client to re-enter the market after the NFL's next television deal kicks in - there is now an agreement about "leverage.''
Jerry conceded that Prescott's leverage has gone up after he went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. The Cowboys played a total of four different QBs, including the capable Andy Dalton, but still finished 6-10.
Prescott's talent being gone was a factor there. Prescott's presence being gone was, too.
The Joneses are still talking about "the pie'' - the fact that in a salary-cap league, every dollar that goes to Prescott is another dollar that can't be spent on help for him. Also in play is a COVID-era cap issue, during which the usual increase is not expected.
"So,'' Stephen said, "all those things will play a role into players that we keep that are under contract, where we can sign - obviously Dak being at the top of that list - and then going from there."
By league rule, the Cowboys are now able to negotiate a contract with Prescott after their season came to an end on Sunday. And just as he played under the $31.4 million tag last year, the same could happen this season, with $38 million the dollar figure. In a way, that is part of the Dak leverage; if $38 mil is the tag number, why is, say, $40 mil APY a particular problem?
Jerry Jones seems to get this.
"His evolving into a quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture,'' the owner said. "He has great ability in my mind to win games. He has all the things. You would not be offering Dak what we offered in the past if he wasn't very special."
Maybe, soon, there will be another offer. And it will be special. And it can end some of the drama that has hung over The Star during the past two years of fallen-short negotiations with a QB that now has so much leverage that the man on the other side of the negotiating table can't even argue about it.