Cowboys give Dak Prescott the franchise tag ahead of free agency

Yahoo Sports

There was never a question about whether Dak Prescott would be with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. It was just a matter of how the contract issue would get settled before free agency started.

We probably don’t have the ultimate resolution to the contract impasse, but the Cowboys will keep working on it after they put the franchise tag on Prescott on Monday morning. That keeps Prescott from testing the market.

The move buys the Cowboys time to finalize what will be a complicated deal. The deadline for signing a franchise-tagged player to a long-term deal is July 15.

The Prescott contract situation has lingered over the Cowboys for a while, practically since he took over the job from Tony Romo and shocked everyone by winning NFL offensive rookie of the year.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) had 4,902 yards last season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) had 4,902 yards last season. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Dak Prescott has developed into a star

The contract issue with Prescott dragged on. He reportedly walked away from a deal last year that was to pay him $33 million per season. That gamble looked smart when Prescott threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. He is a quality starting quarterback, and that costs a lot of money.

The Cowboys stumbled into Prescott as their long-term answer at quarterback. They had other options they preferred in the 2016 draft but settled on Prescott in the fourth round. Prescott got the job when Romo was injured in the preseason. He took off from there, throwing for just 23 touchdowns and four interceptions as a rookie.

Prescott had a bit of a sophomore slump, but bounced back in his third and fourth seasons.

Prescott is a two-time Pro Bowler

Prescott’s contract situation got more complicated as time went on, after he and the team quit negotiating last season.

Negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement added layers of difficulty. Prescott’s contract demands might not be in line with his production, but it’s not like the Cowboys could afford to let him go and start over. He’s just 26 years old and already a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback. He had leverage.

The only thing that seemed certain this month is that Prescott wouldn’t be leaving Dallas anytime soon.

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