Dak Prescott has a long way to go to be a “Cowboy for life”

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Wednesday was a day of celebration for the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott. There was no reason for Dak to rub anyone’s face in the negotiations that he clearly won in a TKO, in part because the Cowboys repeatedly punched themselves in the crotch by delaying and delaying and delaying the inevitable.

Still, certain of the flowery things said on Wednesday don’t mesh with reality. Most significantly, Prescott characterized himself as a Cowboy for life. While he may hope to be a Cowboy for life, the reality is that he’s going to be a Cowboy for at least four more years. By then, he’ll be a 31-year-old free agent, with multiple devices in the contract aimed at preventing the Cowboys from ever using the franchise tag on him again.

His current leverage came from the possibility that he’d be able to leave after the 2021 season. His future leverage will come from the possibility that he’ll be able to leave after the 2024 season. To the extent he wants to preserve that leverage, he shouldn’t talk about being a Cowboy for life until he gets to the end of his career and looks back on the fact that, through a series of contracts, he accomplished that goal.

At some point, there’s a chance the Cowboys may not be willing to blink when negotiating with Dak. At some point, he may need to get to the market to get a fair deal from the Cowboys. At some point, when he’s on the open market, he may opt for a change.

So while it may currently feel like he’s a Cowboy for life, Dak’s contract sets him up for something more significant. He has the ability to drive a hard bargain with the Cowboys at every turn for the balance of his career. To drive the hardest possible bargain, he needs to be willing at some point to contemplate the possibility of not being a Cowboy for life. Indeed, his willingness to make the Cowboys think that he’d seriously consider leaving became a key ingredient in getting the record-setting contract he officially signed on Wednesday.

Dak Prescott has a long way to go to be a “Cowboy for life” originally appeared on Pro Football Talk