Why Dak Prescott would be smart to play 2020 on franchise tag, follow in Kirk Cousins’ footsteps


Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys may be “all in” on negotiating a long-term contract before the July 15 deadline for players under the franchise tag, and Prescott may have affirmed his affinity for America’s Team by recently signing the tag for 2020. But what if Prescott’s best path forward isn’t landing a lucrative extension ahead of this season?

Assuming both sides have yet to find totally common ground on an average annual salary, CBS Sports’ John Breech thinks the Cowboys quarterback should follow in the footsteps of former NFC East rival Kirk Cousins and milk Dallas for money.

“I think the Cowboys, they might be low-balling him … because the Cowboys don’t know what’s happening this year,” Breech said on Monday’s Pick Six Podcast (listen below and subscribe here for daily NFL goodness), alluding to salary cap uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The more I think about it, I think Dak should pull a Kirk Cousins and play it out individually on his franchise tag, because look, let’s just say, worst-case scenario, there are no fans in the crowd next year and the salary cap drops. Well, now Dak goes into March, (and) if the Cowboys want to keep him, they’re going to have to tag him again and give him $37.7 million, minimum. So if I’m Dak, I just don’t do a long-term deal right now.”

Podcast host Will Brinson agreed, pointing out that he’d start negotiations by asking for at least $38 million per year — close to the total Prescott would earn under a projected franchise tag in 2021. And as for the Cowboys’ perspective on long-term talks?

“Just pay him what he wants,” Brinson said. “The longer you wait on this, the worse position you’re in … If Deshaun Watson signs an extension or, God forbid, Patrick Mahomes, the number goes up.”

Prescott is set to earn $31.5 million under the tag in 2020. If/when he signs his next long-term contract, he figures to rank among the NFL’s highest-paid QBs. It’s just a matter of whether he signs that deal in Dallas, and when.

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