Cowboys are using fancy words to say they won’t pay Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have said a lot things about the challenges of paying Dak Prescott, which really means they’re not going to end up paying him top dollar.

The Dallas Cowboys’ negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott are getting weirder by the day.

The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback out of Mississippi State University has been slapped with the franchise tag by “America’s Team.” He has yet to sign it and wants a long-term deal to remain the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. The man in charge of putting together the team’s best offer for the signal-caller is executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones.

Jones appeared on the PFT PM podcast with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio on Friday, discussing the issues the Cowboys have in coming to an agreement with Prescott’s representation. As you would expect, the conversation featured a ton of prefacing on Jones’ behalf, as contract talks look to be a standstill. Prescott reportedly is looking for a deal with $35 million in annual salary.

“As money gets bigger, deals get harder,” said Jones to Florio on Friday. While that is true, the Cowboys did pay seemingly everyone under the sun instead of Prescott in the last year and change. They will have to come to a decision quickly on if they’re going to pay Prescott top dollar or not. This cannot continue deep into the summer.

Jon Machota of The Athletic tweeted out an excerpt of Jones’ conversation with Florio over the weekend. If there is any part of that quote that is damning, this would be it, “There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage that it decreases your chance to win.”

To some degrees, that’s correct, but when you pay running back Ezekiel Elliott early and prioritize players like linebacker Jaylon Smith and wide receiver Amari Cooper getting long-term deals before your starting quarterback, that’s not going to land well with the fanbase or the media who covers the team.

Ultimately, it sounds like a bunch of ifs, ands or buts. Prescott will command over $31 million on the 2020 NFL franchise tag anywhere. The richest team in the NFL is arguing over a couple of million dollars with its franchise quarterback. The longer the Cowboys wait to pay Prescott, the more they will have to pay him. Somebody else may reset the market and cost them dearly.

$35 million annually over a four-year deal will look a lot better once someone like Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans makes $37.5 million per year or Patrick Mahomes averages $40 million a season on his new deal. Does Dallas realize once Watson gets $37.5 million per year Prescott will ask for that?

All this sounds like is that the Cowboys really don’t want to pay him.