Cowboys franchise tag looms for Dak Prescott after horrifying injury

Dak Prescott might be in for another year of contract hell in Dallas.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Sunday that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is “prepared to tag quarterback Dak Prescott again in 2021, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation.”

The report comes inside the one-week mark of Prescott’s gruesome, season-ending ankle injury he suffered against the Giants on Oct. 11. The 27-year-old had already accrued 1,856 passing yards and 12 total touchdowns and was on pace to exceed his 2019 stats.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

The Cowboys and their 2016 fourth-round pick had been in tenuous negotiations for over a year, during which time the team signed defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence, linebacker Jaylon Smith, tackle La’el Collins, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receiver Amari Cooper to contract extensions, in addition to signing backup quarterback Andy Dalton. Around the league, quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes inked their own long-term extensions for four years, $156 million and 10 years, $503 million, respectively.

The team applied the $31.4 million exclusive franchise tag as a one-year stopgap in March and long-term talks were ultimately stalled in July. Prior to 2020, Prescott had earned an average of $680,848 per year under his rookie deal.

Exercising the franchise tag for a second year would cost the Cowboys 120 percent of Prescott’s salary in 2020, or approximately $37.7 million. Teams are allowed to use the franchise tag on a player a total of three times, with the third time incurring a cost of 144 percent of the player’s previous salary, or $54.3 million in this case.

Earlier in the week, Jones gave a familiar speech, expressing his concern about overleveraging the team’s salary cap to any one player.

“I think that we’ve got to be reminded that to have a team we’ve got to really manage how we dole out our resources,” the Cowboys owner told 105.3 The Fan. “Dak is deserving of anything you want to put on a piece of paper, relatively speaking. If you evaluate what he can do to help us win championships, you can see that it’s there and plus he’s a leader at the premier leader spot. We’ve got to make it work.”

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