MAQB: Dak Prescott’s Leverage in Dallas

This really feels like a long wait for the new league year to start. But we’re all talking about Tom Brady and every other free agent under the sun, so I guess the NFL wins again. As expected…


• Because Dak Prescott’s been raked over the coals a little, we’ll give you the math on his leverage points. The exclusive franchise tag number sits right now at $31.63 million. That means tagging him again in 2021 would cost the Cowboys $37.95 million. That means, by doing nothing, he can average $34.7 million over the next two years, then potentially hit the market in 2022, at age 28 (which is the Kirk Cousins template). In most deals, very little is guaranteed past Year 2. So if you’re Prescott, would you play the next two years (with the risk of injury in Year 1) on tags, or sign a long-term deal averaging that number ($34.7 million) knowing there’d be a series of two or three or four de facto team options after that? You’d probably need some sweeteners to sign long-term, if you were going to give the team that kind of control, right? And that’s what makes it tough to do a deal with a quarterback on an expiring contract. The Cowboys have to prove, in essence, they’re giving Prescott a better option than pursuing the Kirk Cousins route. Kirk Cousins, by the way, has made $98 million the last four years, since his rookie deal expired in March 2016. That’s about the same, on average, as what Andrew Luck got in an extension that year, and Cousins got to switch teams in the middle, and has $30 million coming next year, with a no-tag provision thereafter.

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