FRISCO, Texas — There's been quite the spending spree this offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, and it's mostly abnormal when comparing it against how they've handled contract negotiations in the recent past — Terence Steele being the latest "cornerstone" piece to land a megadeal in Dallas ahead of the 2023 season — but is Dak Prescott next?
Possibly, yes, with the addition of Trey Lance having no impact on talks.
The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback has made it clear his intention is to remain with the Cowboys as he and the team sift through negotiations, and that's a sentiment owner and general manager Jerry Jones mirrored loudly ahead of the Week 1 battle against the New York Giants in primetime on Sunday, Sept. 10.
"We expect Dak to be with us for a long time," Jones told 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday.
To that point, the Cowboys are not tabling talks as the season gets underway. Asked if the door is still open for a deal to be done between now and next offseason, Jones was unequivocal in his response.
"Absolutely, absolutely at any time," he said. "It may be a better time for them to get to a point where they can make a decision. We all, I know I do, have times when I get up and feel like locking something down — maybe a loose end — and if I get a chance, I'm gonna do it.
"That should sound flexible because it is. It's a moving part."
He went on to explain what exactly he means by it being a "moving part", an arrow pointing to intangibles such as the market rate as a primary driver.
"We're always working around it with several machinations of numbers that would work," said Jones. "It's a moving target because you don't know where you are on any given day with the salary that you want on the books in the future. … Those contracts you have to assume are going to be placed at some number, knowing that it's not going to be exact until you get it negotiated. It's constantly on your mind. It's just a part of your makeup."
Prescott signed a four-year extension worth up to $160 million with $126 million guaranteed in 2021, following a dance with the franchise tag (his current deal doesn't allow for use of the franchise tag, by the way), keeping him in two through, at minimum, the 2024 season.
As far as cap management goes, however, it would behoove the Cowboys to get an extension done prior to Prescott's cap hit for 2024 hitting the books — a gargantuan $59 million hit — to possibly allow for the freeing up of space for players like CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons, amongst others (e.g., Tyler Biadasz, Dorance Armstrong, DeMarcus Lawrence, etc.).
"Those numbers on those [types of] contracts, especially the big ones, are ongoing constantly," said Jones. "They're always on your mind. There's no time when it goes away because you've got to make the entire thing fit. It's on the mind, a player decision, in the middle of the year. It's just a fundamental [thing]."
Also fundamental is the understanding outside of the building of the value of Prescott inside of it, and trading for a developmental quarterback in Lance doesn't change the plans for Prescott one iota. Jones wants Prescott to be awarded a third contract in Dallas, and the latter wants the same.
The rest is timing and negotiation.