LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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4 Down Territory: The Cowboys front office is playing with fire

 1. Jerry & Stephen Jones are playing with fire, and they could get burned.

In case you haven’t heard, the Cowboys and Dak Prescott failed to get a deal done before the deadline for long term deals. Dak will play the 2020 season on the exclusive 1 yr franchise tender of $31.4 million.

Coming off of his best statistical year in 2019 where he was top 5 in QBR, yards, TDs, and efficiency, he’s definitely deserving of a huge payday. But when you prioritize the long term contracts of your LB & RB first before your franchise quarterback, this is what it equals.

According to NFL Network’s Jane Slater, Dak was involved with the Cowboys at the last minute to get a deal done before the deadline stuck, but both sides ran out of time.

Look, I think the Cowboys believe in Dak. I think the Cowboys want Dak as their franchise QB. But what do you notice when NFL teams negotiates long term deals with their franchise QBs & their agency? THEY GET IT DONE!!! Only 3 QBs (Brees and Cousins 2x) have played the entirety of an NFL season on a franchise tender.

The Cowboys dragged their feet with this deal and didn’t go far enough to Dak’s liking. Now the Cowboys will pay for it.

The disconnect wasn’t about money, it’s been mainly about Dak wanting a 4 year deal and the Cowboys wanting a 5 year deal, as Patrik Walker been detailing since February (MUST READ as Patrik details Dak and the Cowboys contract dispute and what Mahomes historic payday means for Dak.)

Now here’s why the Cowboys are playing a dangerous game.

The Cowboys was offering Dak $33-$35 million annually, $106M-$110M guaranteed. By not getting a deal done, Dak’s salary has basically become more expensive. The Cowboys can franchise tag him again next offseason for a 2021 salary of $37.9 million. So most likely, he’s not taking anything below $38 million. Right now, Dallas does not have the cap space to tag Dak again in 2021. Also, with Mahomes historic contract and Watson’s payday coming soon, the market for franchise QBs salaries could be well into the $40 millions not even including guarantees & bonuses. 

We’ve seen what happened with Kirk Cousins and his former team in Washington. We know negotiations could get ugly. The Cowboys and their franchise QB have been working on a deal for multiple years now. Him or his agency could state to the Cowboys they’re tired of not being a priority and back out of a deal. Dak’s brother aired his frustration today on Twitter.

There’s no excuse for your franchise QB to not be locked up in a long term deal by now. The Cowboys front office, led by Jerry & Stephen, are playing with fire.

   2. The Best gets better

Last week, the Chiefs smartly locked up their generational QB and the best player in the NFL to a historical 10 year contract. 

But then everyone kept asking what this means for premiere interior DL Chris Jones? He stated earlier this offseason he won’t play without a new deal.

Then he deservedly GOT PAID.

The Chiefs started their Super Bowl champion offseason with just $177 in cap space. In that time, they restructured Sammy Watkins deal to him around, add arguably the best RB in the draft to their already loaded offense (Clyde Edwards-Halaire), extended Mahomes for 10 more years, and extend Chris Jones for 4 more years. Oh and they’re returning 20/22 starters back. 

Hand Brett Veach the GM crown right now.

   3. Mouth Shields

The NFL announced they are distributing Oakley mouth shields to all 32 NFL teams to combat COVID-19. 

J.J. Watt told ProFootballTalk, “My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet. I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off!! I’m gonna die out here!’ So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”

And I know for a fact there will be a lot more NFL players pushing back on this as we wait and see what are the NFL official plans to combat Covid-19 this season.

   4. Surprise NFL teams in 2020

Every year in the NFL, there are surprise teams that makes unexpected runs to the playoffs. That’s what makes the NFL so great.

I have one AFC team and one NFC team I really like this year.

My AFC team is the Denver Broncos. Since Peyton left in 2015, they have been QB starved. Well I think they found something in Drew Lock. Even though he made a handful of starts in 2019, he looked really impressive. After an impressive 2020 NFL Draft, they now have a plethora of young weapons for Drew Lock with all around #1 WR Jeudy and speedy big play WR Hamler joining rising star TE Fant (who I’m REALLY high on) and explosive WR Sutton. On top of that, they still have a good defense led by Miller & Chubb on the edge.

My NFC team is the Arizona Cardinals. If you know me, you already know I’m a huge Kyler Murray fan. Add Deandre Hopkins with future HOF Larry Fitzgerald and the quickness/speed of Kirk & Isabella, you have some legit weapons!!! Behind the Ravens & Cowboys, I think the Cards had the best draft out of the entire NFL. Drafting the versatile Isaiah Simmons at #8 is a flat out win. On day 2, they select OT Josh Jones, a huge steal in the 3rd round. Robert Alford is back healthy, I still believe Patrick Peterson is a very good CB, and Chandler Jones arguably can get to the QB better than anyone in football. Even though they’re in the toughest division in football, I believe they’ll surprise a lot of people and fans around the NFL.

What do you think?

Written by Byron Nelson

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