The Dallas Cowboys are at a standstill in their negotiations with Dak Prescott. Despite reports to the contrary, they have yet to pitch a new offer this offseason. Similarly, Dak’s agent, Todd France, has yet to make any new demands. Both sides seem intent on learning what the new league salary cap will be before they discuss anything.
Last time we heard, the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott were at an impasse over the length of the deal, rather than the money. Dallas wanted a five-year that they could backload and Dak wanted a four-year deal that would get him back to free agency sooner.
At face value, that might not make sense. Why would Dak want a shorter deal with less security and why would the Dallas Cowboys want a longer deal with more commitment? But if you look at each side more closely it makes perfect sense and it’s a reason why I’m speculating today, Dak may want a three-year deal instead a four-year deal.
Don’t be surprised if Dak Prescott only wants to re-sign for three years with the Dallas Cowboys now.
But let’s take a minute to understand the two sides…
Dallas Cowboys’ Side
First we have the Dallas Cowboys. They want a deal as long as they can get and it’s not just for back-loading purposes. We’ve seen over the years how long-term deals become virtual steals down the road.
Market values go up every year and what sets the market today, is far below market value in just a couple years. As long as the player performs up to standard, it’s a sweet deal for the team.
Dak Prescott’s Side
Dak’s side of things goes off of that same thing. He wants to stay up-to-date with market values. He’s willing to risk long-term security for the ability to test the market again sooner rather than later. As long as he keep performing, it will let him make more money over the course of his career.
The fuel to this fiery standoff lies in the NFL’s next TV deal. The current deal expires with ESPN after the 2021 season, and their deal with FOX, CBS, and NBC expires after the 2022 season. Even with the murkiness of COVID clouding the waters, the salary cap is expected to explode – taking player salaries with it.
The New TV Deal
Any player hitting free agency under the new TV deal stands to make truckloads in extra cash. Anyone still playing on a contract signed under the old TV deal will be playing for far below market values and essentially losing money by the day.
That’s why Todd France didn’t want his client signing a five-year deal last offseason. And that’s why he probably won’t want Dak to sign a four-year deal this year. It’s about windfall of revenue waiting for players once the new TV deal goes into effect.
So it wasn’t really about the length of the deal for Dak Prescott, per say, it was more about getting to market when the TV money hits and the salary cap explodes upward. Signing a four-year contract today is basically the same as signing that five-year contract he rejected last year. It’s keeping him from market and limiting his ability to earn fair market prices under the new TV deal.
Assuming Todd France and Dak Prescott still feel the same way they have for the past two years, one could logically speculate they will demand a three-year deal now. Because it’s all about getting to market as soon as possible under the new TV deal.
While this is speculation on my part, it’s based on the facts of the situation. Understanding what Dak wanted in the first place (free agency under the new TV deal) tells us it’s more about a specific date he wants to be free, rather than contract length.
Perhaps the season-ending injury he suffered last season changed things for him. But we have zero indication it has and seeing that his leverage grows by the day (his injury did nothing to hurt his value around the league), don’t be surprised to see him demand a three-year deal this go-round.
Dak Prescott wants to be a free agent in 2024 which means the four-year demand from yesterday should be a three-year demand today.