Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was one of 15 NFL players given the franchise tag or the transition tag before the start of free agency. Like the other 14 players, the Mississippi State product is looking at a one-year deal initially.
Unlike many of those other tagged players, however, Prescott could be getting a long-term extension in the near future. The way the league offseason is scheduled, the Cowboys and their quarterback have until July 15 to agree a deal. Yet, it appears that neither side wants to wait that long.
According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the two sides have resumed contract talks:
Dallas had previously made Prescott an offer worth $33 million per year, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. Prescott did not accept the offer, and the Cowboys turned to the tag instead.
Now, it appears that Prescott as a new deal on the table. If Dallas ups its offer by just a bit, Mike Fisher of Cowboys Maven believes it could be enough to get a deal done:
"This really could be as simple as the Dallas Cowboys making a new offer to Dak Prescott that pays him $35 million APY over the course of a four-year contract, and indeed a source on Wednesday tells CowboysSI.com that the Cowboys have re-engaged in negotiations with CAA agent Todd France in a way that figures to include a new exchange of proposals."
It's worth noting, of course, that $35 million per year is what Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is making on his current deal. That's the highest annual salary of any player in the league.
Does Prescott deserve to be the league's new highest-paid player? His accomplishments suggest not. However, that may be the only way for Dallas to get a long-term deal done in the immediate future.
Bengals Willing to Be Patient With Andy Dalton
While the Cowboys are looking to lock up Dak Prescott, the Cincinnati Bengals are trying to determine how to best move on from quarterback Andy Dalton.
The TCU product has started for Cincinnati since his rookie season in 2011. However, he has just one year remaining on his current contract, and the Bengals are widely expected to replace him with LSU's Joe Burrow in this year's draft.
Cincinnati has been willing to trade Dalton, but so far, he remains on the roster. The Bengals aren't in a rush to change that.
"All options are still on the table for Andy Dalton. We know they have been open to trading him. They've had some conversations with a couple teams, and a lot of those teams have acquired other quarterbacks," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said on Total Access. "... All options are still on the table, and that includes bringing him back potentially for 2020 and having him serve as the backup for whoever they draft."
Dalton, who is set to earn $17.7 million in 2020, would be an expensive backup. However, the Bengals could do worse than keeping him as a backup/mentor for Burrow or whomever they select. Doing so would give Cincinnati the option of slowly working their new quarterback into the lineup if he isn't ready by Week 1.
Browns Still Interested in Williams
Meanwhile, Cincinnati's in-state rivals are looking to upgrade the talent around their young quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns drafted Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall two offseasons ago and have gotten mixed results out of the Oklahoma product to this point.
Two of Cleveland's biggest moves this offseason have involved players who should directly impact Mayfield's performance—offensive tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Austin Hooper. While Hooper will give the quarterback another reliable target, Conklin should help anchor the right side of the offensive line.
This leaves the left side of the line as an area of need for Cleveland, one the team may address with the 10th overall pick in April's draft. However, the Browns have not ruled out adding a veteran at left tackle before then.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns are still interested in trading for Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams:
"The Browns explored trading for Williams after the Redskins gave him permission to seek a deal two weeks ago. He is still a possibility if the Redskins lower their asking price and/or if Williams is willing to accept less in an extension. If the Browns surrender a higher pick, they'd likely want a longer-term deal, which would effectively take them out of the strong left tackle market in the draft."
Williams may not be Cleveland's first choice at left tackle, but he would be a fantastic insurance option. Though he is 31 years old, didn't play in 2019 and has a notable injury history, Williams is also a seven-time Pro Bowler and one of the game's best linemen when healthy.