Author: Travis Pulver

The Dallas Cowboys have a dilemma on their hands. Ever since Dak Prescott has been the starting quarterback, the team has been winning games. Prescott has been a large part of the reason why they’ve been winning the last three years. However, he isn’t the only reason.

As a fourth-round pick, he is set to go into the final year of his rookie contract. That means it is time to pay the man. Nonetheless, what he wants to get paid and what the team is willing to pay could very well be two different things.  

If the team isn’t willing to meet his number, could he potentially walk after next season?

Some might say to go ahead and let him; that he has been a mediocre quarterback at best. But what they will be forgetting is what life was like before him when Tony Romo was injured. The team went through journeymen quarterbacks like a knife through butter. The offense was terrible, the defense was overworked, and they struggled to score points – not to mention win games.

With no one currently on the roster that appears ready to step in and perform at a high level, that could mean the Cowboys are stuck with him. That could also mean that they may have to acquiesce to his demands and pay him as he sees fit.  Or they could try to strike gold in the middle rounds of the draft again….

It wouldn’t be shocking if they drafted a quarterback in the late rounds, but striking gold again is not something fans should count on. Prescott has said that he is not going to give a hometown discount like Tom Brady does. He has also specified that he expects to get paid what he deserves. So—what does he deserve?

Jerry Jones has gone on record agreeing that Prescott should be paid what he deserves. Then, he also referenced the new deals Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan recently received in a way as to imply that they are not going anywhere near the $30 million/year mark. That’s fair. He has played well but not that well.

What about something in the range of Kirk Cousins? The Vikings gave him a three-year deal after he started three seasons for the Redskins and won 24 games and one division title (but no playoff games). Prescott has won two division titles, 32 games, and a playoff game in his three seasons as a starter. Does that mean he deserves more than Cousins?

His agent is going to say yes, but the Cowboys will undoubtedly say no. While his agent will point to the wins, the Cowboys will point to the stats. In those three seasons, Cousins threw for over 4000 yards in each completed between 64.3 and 69.8 percent of his passes and threw 81 touchdown passes.

Prescott has yet to throw for more than 3900 yards, has completed 66.1 percent of his passes, and has thrown 67 touchdown passes. His agent will counter by saying it isn’t Prescott’s fault the Cowboys are a run first team.

Where the whole negotiation could run into trouble is with how hard Stephen Jones wants to stick to his guns and have Prescott’s deal be ‘team friendly’ and what that means to him. Does he mean Prescott takes less money leaving more money for the team to sign other players?

Or does it just mean that he allows them to structure the deal, so it does the least amount of damage to the salary cap? Maybe one with a ridiculously low base but with enough of a signing bonus attached that the average annual value is acceptable to Prescott?

Fans will have to hold their horses and wait to find out the answer to these questions. In the end, it may come down to just how much the Cowboys don’t want to have to find a new starting quarterback.