Dak Prescott will be playing the 2020 season on his $31.4 million franchise tag after he and the Dallas Cowboys failed to come to terms on a contract extension before Wednesday's deadline. That means he'll either hit free agency next offseason or the Cowboys will need to use the franchise again, expected to be worth around $38 million.
And some people around football believe the Cowboys should consider cutting ties altogether.
According to Jon Machota of The Athletic, "There are some outside the organization who believe the Cowboys should move on and find another starting quarterback in the next few years if Prescott doesn't want to take a team-friendly deal."
The counterargument to that line of thinking, of course, is that franchise quarterbacks aren't exactly easy to come by. The Cowboys have a history of identifying talent at the position, especially in recent years, from the undrafted Tony Romo to a fourth-rounder like Prescott.
But once you have the quarterback, keeping him is top priority. And as Machota noted, it seems as though both sides want to continue the relationship into the future.
"When you're the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, you don't give much thought to being the quarterback of another team," Prescott said in January. "I've got a lot of confidence that something will get done here soon."
And team owner Jerry Jones previously compared keeping Prescott in Dallas to keeping his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones, with the franchise:
"There's no going forward without Stephen or one of your family members, so you got to get it figured out. Of course we're going to keep his rights. It's not a sensitive thing. There's already been more put on the table to show that we're going to do everything it takes. When you start talking about this kind of money, the top end of it is not an indication of how you feel. It's pretty hard to deny you're interested if you're willing to pay $100 but not willing to pay $101. You're interested and trying to act right. It's just a question of getting it done."
Many questions remain unanswered, though. Will the sides begin to negotiate in earnest in 2021? Just how far apart are they? And how much will Prescott's market value either increase or decrease based on what he does this season?
One thing that hurt the Cowboys was the massive, market-shifting extension that Patrick Mahomes signed this offseason for 10 years and $503 million dollars. Prescott is unlikely to see anything nearing half a billion dollars, but the Mahomes tide is likely to raise all quarterback ships. Agreeing to an extension before Mahomes signed that monster deal would have benefitted the Cowboys.
Instead, Prescott and the team will start the dance up again next offseason. Until that happens, it will remain a major storyline in Dallas.