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No New Dak Deal: Prescott Will Play For 2020 Cowboys Under Tag

No New Dak Deal: As Contract Talks Stall At Deadline, Prescott Will Play For the 2020 Dallas Cowboys Under The $31.409 Million Tag

FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott signed his $31.409 million exclusive franchise tender three weeks ago, in theory creating a path toward a long-term deadline deal by Wednesday.

But the "open-communication'' path never cleared. There is no long-term deal, with the Cowboys having offered five years and about $35 million average per season (totaling $175 million) with at least $106 million in virtual guarantees, as first reported in March, and with Prescott and agent Todd France of CAA preferring a shorter-term arrangement.

So there is simply this: Prescott might someday become the richest long-term Cowboy ever. But Wednesday was the final chance to forge that long-term deal, so the one-year franchise tender agreement is locked in place.

Yes, Prescott still becomes the highest-paid single-season Cowboy in the team’s history. And yes, both sides can renew their conversations at the completion of the 2020 NFL season. Or both sides can end up plodding down this path again next spring, with Prescott ending up with yet another franchise tag and another guaranteed salary, the next time at $37.7 million for the 2021 season.

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Nobody wants instability. Prescott's desire to be with his guys and to begin work with coaches on the new system and playbook under new coach Mike McCarthy is the reason he signed the tender on June 22, and it's the reason for hope of a peaceful future. But free agency after the 2022 season (when the TV contract will be renewed and salaries will skyrocket) is a Prescott goal - and was a critical obstacle in these talks.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, don't at all want tag-tag-plus. There is the fact that Prescott on the tag this year and in 2021 means a total two-year guaranteed salary of $69 million - hardly cap-friendly. A third tag? That's a $123 million total and a purpose-defeating APY of $41.11 million.

And while there will surely be rosy and classy "Bet On Yourself'' mantras soon delivered, there is the possibility of a shaky foundation for a contending team that now might deal with the vibe that Cowboys management and its "face-of-the-franchise'' player lack faith and trust in one another.

But blame which ever side you wish. "The Joneses are short-sighted'' or "the player is greedy.'' This is the clogged path chosen - by both the Dallas Cowboys and by Dak Prescott.