The Dallas Cowboys are prepared to place an exclusive franchise tag worth $33 million on quarterback Dak Prescott if they are unable to come to an agreement on a long-term deal with the signal-caller by March 12, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (h/t Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com).
Prescott, who will turn 27 years old in July, had the best statistical season of his four-year career in 2019. The ex-Mississippi State star completed 65.1 percent of his passes for a career-high 30 touchdown passes. His 8.2 yards per pass attempt were also a career-best mark.
Prescott is set to become a free agent when the new league year begins on March 18, but Dallas will reportedly place the exclusive tag on the quarterback if a deal isn't reached by the 12th, which marks the end of the tag window.
The quarterback wouldn't receive the security a long-term deal provides, but Prescott would get $33 million for one season's work. As Bergman noted, the exclusive tag's worth is equal to the average of the top five salaries in the NFL at a player's position.
Prescott also can't negotiate with other teams as part of the terms of the tag.
Signs point toward a long-term deal getting done, but the question is when that will happen. Positive signs occurred on Wednesday when ESPN's Todd Archer reported that the Cowboys and Prescott's agent Todd France had conversations about a deal for the first time since September.
Jane Slater of NFL Network reported in August that Prescott was seeking a deal worth $40 million annually, which would make him the league's highest-paid player at the position. She also noted that Prescott turned down a $30 million-per-year deal.
Prescott spoke with Kimberley A. Martin of Yahoo Sports (now of ESPN) earlier in February about a potential new deal:
"I'm wondering the same thing, y'all know just as much as me," Prescott said about a new deal per Jaclyn Hendricks of the New York Post. "Love when that day comes, but I have confidence in my agency—my agents, my team—I've got confidence in the Cowboys that something will be done."
When asked if he was a $40 million quarterback, Prescott said the following:
"You tell me. If it's my call to write it [a check], yeah, no telling. I mean, let's be honest, right," Prescott said. "Like I said before though, I trust my agents, I trust the Cowboys, something will get done. I'm not going to sit here and put a number on it. Something will happen."
Prescott had a 40-24 career win-loss record in the regular season. He has led Dallas to the playoffs twice following NFC East titles.