The July 15 4:00 PM deadline for NFL teams to reach long-term contract extensions with franchise-tagged players has passed. Tagged players are now officially locked in to their one-year deals.
This news is relevant to the Philadelphia Eagles since the Dallas Cowboys failed to reach a multi-year agreement with starting quarterback Dak Prescott. The Eagles can enjoy this development because the Cowboys are only hurting themselves by waiting to reward him. The longer they wait, the more they’re eventually going to have to pay. Patrick Mahomes recently signing a $500 million contract should serve as a reminder that the market is only going up.
The theory here is that the Cowboys have been reluctant to pay Prescott because they truly know he’s a quarterback you win with and not one you win because of ... and they know they have to pay him like the latter. The problem with doing just that, though, is that committing so much money to Prescott limits the talent they can surround him with. And Prescott needs to be supported by an environment in which he can thrive as opposed to being the guy to elevate a lesser supporting cast.
Prescott’s situation mirrors the one that Kirk Cousins experienced back in Washington. Washington was reluctant to sign Cousins to a long-term deal because, while he posted some good stats, it didn’t translate into meaningful team success. The same is true for the Cowboys, who’ve only achieved one playoff win (with help from a moronic opponent) in four years with Prescott starting.
The Cousins situation worked out to where he was tagged twice before becoming the first player in NFL history to receive a lucrative, fully guaranteed contract. If Prescott plays his cards right, he can similarly force the Cowboys (or another team) to hand him a huge extension down the road while playing on tags in the meantime.
It’s hard to believe the Cowboys would be willing to eventually let Prescott walk but historical precedent is worth considering here:
#Cowboys QB @dak is the 8th QB to be designated a franchise player since 1993 but only 2 have actually played a season under the tag— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) May 27, 2020
• Drew Brees in 05 (Chargers)
• Kirk Cousins in 16 & 17 (Redskins)
Both would go on to sign deals with a different team the following season
The way I see it, the Eagles can enjoy the Cowboys either 1) having to pay Prescott a lot more money than he’s truly worth or 2) botching the situation to where they lose him.
On the former point, the Eagles are happy to have their franchise quarterback locked up at a relatively reasonable rate through 2024. Carson Wentz’s annual value of $32 million only ranks seventh most in the league. And that positioning will only drop as more quarterbacks — such as Prescott — sign new extensions.
“Lmao but Wentz has barely even played in a playoff game! He sux! Dak is better!” is a retort I expect from Cowboys fans that end up finding this article. (I can guarantee you that our friends over at Blogging The Boys are seeing this.)
And, yeah, it’s true. Wentz has barely played in the playoffs. But the reality is the Eagles don’t win Super Bowl LII without Wentz. The position he put the team in that year was so great that they were able to rally around a backup quarterback and home field advantage in the playoffs to still win a championship. In other words, we know that the Eagles can be true title contenders with Wentz leading the way. Can the same be said for Prescott, who will inevitably end up making more than Wentz? Not yet, at least.
We’ll just to see what Prescott has in store for 2020. Admittedly, the Cowboys’ offense look pretty good on paper. Dallas will then have another opportunity to extend Prescott’s contract in 2021. Maybe the two sides will finally reach an agreement that costs a lot more than it would’ve if the Dallas made a better effort earlier on. Or maybe Prescott will have to play on the tag for the second year in a row while taking up a big chunk of the Cowboys’ salary cap once again.
Either way, the Eagles won’t hate to see it.