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Dak not focused on contract: 'I don't play for money'


FRISCO, Texas — Money makes the world go 'round, but that doesn't necessarily mean it spins the planet beneath the feet of Dak Prescott. On one note, it's clear as a sunny day in California that the All-Pro quarterback will soon either reset the market or come close to doing so but, as the Dallas Cowboys franchise arm explains it: that's the furthest thing from his mind.

"I don't play for money," said the 2022 Walter Payton Man of the Year. "I have never cared for it to be honest with you. Yeah, I would give it up just to play this game."

That isn't exactly how the NFL works, however, considering it's a multi-billion dollar corporation composed of 32 smaller corporations that are all depending upon the work of roughly 70 players who are literally the best in the world at what they do.

And when you're good at something, you don't do it for free.

The Joker taught us all that much.

"I allow that to the business people to say what it's worth — what they're supposed to give a quarterback of my play, a person of my play and a leader of my [caliber]," said Prescott. "For me, it's about controlling what I can control and handling that part, and the rest will take care of itself."

As he enters yet another contract year (not exactly his first rodeo in that regard), the reigning NFL passing touchdowns leader and last year's runner-up to league MVP is embracing the fact he's the Dark Knight in this situation — fielding praise and hate in near-equal amounts while needing to remain oblivious to both and remain focused on trying to be the hero the Cowboys need in the postseason.

"Business is business," said the three-time Pro Bowler. "I'll leave it where it gets handled. Right now, it's about being my best for this team right now, in this moment, in OTAs and helping these guys out. I'm just focused on that and I know my business will take care of itself. I've been in [this situation] before, so I'm experienced and just controlling what I can right now."

It wasn't so long ago that Prescott was the recipient of not one, but two consecutive franchise tags, with the second being quickly rescinded following his first sizable contract extension.

Unable to utilize the tag on Prescott this time around, as negotiated in the previous deal, he will enter free agency next offseason if a new agreement isn't struck before March. Having consistently said he'd like to retire as a Cowboy, his intentions are as well-known as they are mutually shared by Dallas' front office and coaching staff.

But, at the moment, patience is the name of the game, and particularly as the team works to also secure a new deal for two-time All-Pro wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who has yet to report to voluntary workouts.

To that end, Prescott is as patient as anyone you'll ever meet, and he's also not internalizing the lack of an extension right now.

He's matured beyond that point as he nears his 31st birthday and ninth year in the NFL.

"I think it depends on personal relationships and position and how much that pay can affect others," he said. "Understanding where I am, what my pay means to a team and to an organization — I don't really take things personal. Maybe in my first deal, when maybe things were a little different than they are now. One, it's my age and who I am, where I am in my life, and I guess the fact that the first deal got done. It's the understanding that I have a lot of [choice] in this, too.

"I have a lot of say-so, too. It's about understanding business is business and, for me, it's controlling what I can and that's making sure I'm the best player that I can be right now."

What he can control is helping to lead the Cowboys to an end to a Super Bowl drought that stretches back to when gasoline was a little more than a dollar a gallon.

And that's where his mind is going into 2024.

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