The NFL’s window for using the franchise tag is now open and the Dallas Cowboys have until March 9 to make a decision on whether to use this designation on Dak Prescott for the second straight season. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher revealed the Cowboys are optimistic at the team’s chances of reaching a long-term deal with Prescott rather than using the much less desirable option of tagging the quarterback.
“The Dallas Cowboys, aware of the deadline milestones that are approaching quickly, have opened talks with Dak Prescott’s agent and, a source tells CowboysSI.com, are ‘hopeful’ of sealing a long-term deal before the franchise-tag deadline of March 9,” Fisher detailed. “…The franchise-tag window opens on Tuesday – but in a very literal sense, at this moment, Dallas cannot “afford” to tag him. The Cowboys have two weeks to create an agreement. Without that, Prescott will by the next deadline of Match 9 be given a second tag, this one coming at a cost of $37.7 million.”
Yet, Fisher noted the Cowboys would likely consider trading Prescott if a deal is not reached this offseason. The NFL appears to be entering a new realm where a quarterback’s tenure with a particular team is shortening as we have already seen multiple blockbuster trades this offseason.
“The Cowboys can and will create some restructures and maybe even some drastic cuts to help,” Fisher added. “They will also surely consider some ‘doomsday’ scenarios if they come to the realization that Prescott’s side will not budge. Those could include not ‘letting Dak walk’ (that could happen after this season when a third tag would be financially prohibitive), but rather a trade.”
What Could the Cowboys Land in a Trade for Prescott?
Things would have to really take a turn for the worst for the Cowboys to trade their franchise quarterback. The challenge is the Cowboys have been unable to reach a long-term agreement with Prescott. Using the franchise tag on Prescott for a second straight season solves the short-term predicament of keeping their quarterback but makes his future in Dallas less certain than it has ever been. ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum suggested a Texas quarterback swap with the Cowboys pulling off a sign-and-trade with Prescott for the Texans’ Deshaun Watson.
“You know, Greeny, they could get him signed and they could trade him straight up for Deshaun Watson,” Tannenbaum recently noted on ESPN’s Get Up. “It’s player for player. It solves one problem for one team and another for Dallas. And when you think about where we are Jerry Jones has made a $40 to $50 million mistake, Greeny. Two years ago, it would have been about $32 to $33 million a year for Dak Prescott. Now, that number is going to be closer to $40 million on five or six years, that’s about a $50 million mistake. …So, one way for Jerry Jones who’s in a unique position of not having leverage, trading for Deshaun Watson. Get a player who is slightly better under contract for five years.”
This would be a great backup option for the Cowboys but there are multiple logistical challenges that prevent this from being a realistic option. Prescott would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, and the Texans have become one of the least-desirable NFL franchises for players to land. NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported the Seahawks’ asking price in a hypothetical deal for Russell Wilson starts with three first-round picks. It is reasonable to think the Cowboys could get something similar in return if Prescott was ever traded.
The Cowboys Are Expected to Use the Franchise Tag on Prescott for the Second Straight Year
Despite all the rumors, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Cowboys are expected to once again use the franchise tag on Prescott. Rapoport added that the Cowboys’ goal is to reach a long-term deal rather than use the tag. The Cowboys are permitted to use the franchise tag by March 9 and later reach an extension with Prescott after this deadline.
“The Cowboys do want to work out a long-term deal with Prescott before they have to tag him,” Rapoport reported. “They are confident in his recovery to do that.”
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