How much is Dak Prescott going to sign with Cowboys for?

Dallas Cowboys, NFL Free Agency

The Dallas Cowboys goofed around all last season by not giving quarterback Dak Prescott a new contract. How much will it take to keep him around in Dallas?

The Dallas Cowboys had four years to figure out if Dak Prescott is worth moving forward with as a franchise quarterback.

Since assuming the starting role as a rookie for an injured Tony Romo, all Prescott has done is go 40-24 as a starter, completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 15,778 yards for 97 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Not bad for a fourth-rounder out of Mississippi State.

Because Prescott was a gem the Cowboys found in the fourth round in the 2016 NFL Draft, his rookie contract is set to expire and he will receive a massive payday. Even if you think Prescott is only a top-12 starting quarterback in the NFL, somebody will pay him handsomely. The question remains if that team will be the Cowboys or if he’s poised to join a new club here in year five.

Let’s say the Cowboys want to slap Prescott with the franchise tag during the start of free agency. Prescott will earn a projected $27.1 million for the 2020 campaign. This will give the Cowboys some flexibility for the time being. They can either offer a new contract over the summer or stick with the franchise tag and have him hit free agency next year again.

While the $27.1 million seems like a fair number for a quarterback in his price range, that number will only go up. His four years’ worth of starts and stability in Dallas means he should be getting over $30 million in a long-term deal. The lower 30s is about what you want to pay for maybe the second-best quarterback in your division. But this is where the Cowboys screwed up horrendously.

By waiting to pay Prescott until the time when the rent is due, they will have ended up costing them $7.5 to $10 million more in annual salary to keep him around long-term. By the time Dallas wants to give Prescott a long-term deal, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs will be making $40 million annually. Prescott will ask for just a shade under that amount at $37.5 million.

If Prescott was easily the best quarterback in the NFC, then this would be an easier deal to make. But he’s not as good as Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles at his best. Still, Wentz signed last offseason and hasn’t won a playoff game. Prescott has bargaining leverage.

Ultimately, it will cost the Cowboys just under $30 million to keep Prescott around for one year on the franchise tag. For something like a three-year deal, Prescott won’t get $40 million, he will ask for $37.5 million and he might get it. Even if he settles for $35 million annually, the Cowboys did everything in their power to make sure Prescott gets overpaid by $10 million annually.

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