Kirk Cousins Told Cowboys' Dak Prescott the Franchise Tag 'Can Be Your Friend'May 9, 2020
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins signed a fully guaranteed, three-year, $84 million contract in 2018 after playing on the franchise tag in back-to-back seasons with the Washington Redskins.
Playing on the tag worked out for Cousins, and it's possible the same will be said for Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott. Dallas placed an exclusive franchise tag on the former Mississippi State star in March.
On that note, Cousins told ESPN (h/t Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk) that he told Prescott that the franchise tag "can be your friend":
"Anybody who I run into who's been franchise tagged, we have one on our team this year in Anthony Harris, I believe the franchise tag can be your friend. I don't think it's something to be disappointed with. I think it enables you to be well compensated, and deservedly so, for the upcoming season. Then, I always say the cream will rise to the top.
"If you're good enough, the cream's going to rise to the top, and you're going to get compensated the way you want to. Sometimes it doesn't happen as quickly as you would like, but if you deserve it, and you've earned it, it's going to happen. So you've just got to stay the course and stay patient. Certainly in my journey, it all worked out. I wouldn't go back and change a thing.
"So my message to Dak, when I saw him midseason last year, was, 'Hey, whatever happens, don't be afraid of the tag. It can be your friend, and you can use it to your advantage.'"
Per Williams, Cousins was the first quarterback to play on the franchise tag since Drew Brees did for the San Diego Chargers in 2005. That worked out for Brees as well, as he signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints and is set to enter his 15th season with the team.
Per Over the Cap, Prescott is set to earn a base salary of $31,509,000 in 2020 on the exclusive franchise tag, but he can avoid playing on the tag if he and the Cowboys agree to a long-term deal by July 15.
The latest news surrounding Prescott involves encouraging comments from Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, per ESPN's Ed Werder.
"Obviously, it has no bearing on Dak. Dak is the quarterback of our franchise now, and for many years to come. We've gotta get his contract—we've gotta get over that hurdle. But we'll do it, it'll ultimately get done," he said.
Prescott completed 65.1 percent of his passes for a career-high 30 touchdowns in 2019. He also tossed a career-high 8.2 yards per pass attempt.
The Cowboys have a 40-24 regular-season record under Prescott, who has led Dallas to two NFC East titles in four seasons.