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Gut Feeling: Writers Debate Best Part Of Dak's Deal


It's done.

That might be the best part of the Dak Prescott contract that has been agreed upon by both sides.

The news broke Monday night and as of Tuesday morning, the contract hasn't been officially signed but the details of the very complex deal are continuing to roll in.

It's a projected six-year deal that will void to four, giving Dak a total of $160 million, including a $66 signing bonus.

But there's some other aspects of this deal that are certainly interesting to point out.

Our staff writers each highlighted an aspect of the deal that is the most intriguing.

Rob Phillips: For me, it's the salary cap relief. That might sound strange regarding the second-largest deal in NFL history, but it came at a critical point in the Cowboys' offseason. Prescott's 2021 cap figure reportedly will be over $15 million lower than it would've been with a $37.7 million franchise tag. That's huge. Absolutely huge, because space will be tight in a very unusual year in which the salary cap could be at least $20 million below projections before the pandemic. That's why it just seemed like the right time to finally get the deal done. Dak gets well-deserved multi-year security and huge guaranteed money. The Cowboys now have an easier path to manage the cap and possibly be active (on some level) in free agency. Everybody wins.

Jonny Auping: What stands out to me most about the Dak deal is less about specifics, and more about the realization that this offense is set up to be a juggernaut for the next few years. Cooper, Gallup, Lamb, Elliott, Pollard, Schultz, and Jarwin will all be 27 or younger at the start of the season. My mind immediately went to drafting an offensive tackle in the draft in order to have the depth required to protect Dak for the entirety of the deal and to ensure nothing derails the possibility of having the league's top offense.

Nick Eatman: What I like the most about this contract is that everybody wins – even the fans. Sure, Dak seems like the biggest winner as he gets a $66 million payday here in the next few days. But the Cowboys win as well, locking up their franchise quarterback and doing it in a way that will still make them competitive to do some other things cap-wise. I think the fans win because they truly want to win RIGHT NOW. And this deal doesn't cripple the cap right now. They have a chance to do a few things because they structured the contract in a way that he only counts $22.2 million on the cap. I don't really call it a $15 million savings because he never played on this second franchise tag and who knows if he ever would've. But he did play on last year's tag of $31.4 million. Think about that, how many times have you ever see a huge contract like this – in any league – and the player actually counts significantly less on the salary cap the following year. That's a $9 million savings on last year's cap – AND – he got a huge deal in the process.

Kyle Youmans: What stands out to me the most when thinking about the Dak Prescott deal could easily be the money, but instead it's the no-trade clause. While there's certain aspect of the money that jump off the page, the story line has always been 'Dak wants to be in Dallas' and 'this is Dak's team'. That certainly reigns true because of his willingness to work out a four-year deal, the same length a five-year deal would have been last year, and still want a no-trade clause to ensure that he remains with the star on the side of his helmet.

Mickey Spagnola: Best part of the deal? Thank goodness it's done. Finally. Next best part is the Cowboys using those voidable years, turning a four-year deal into a six-year deal, with two voidable years for salary cap purposes. That allows the Cowboys to prorate Dak's $66 million signing bonus over five years instead of four. That, with a combination of a $9 million base salary for 2021, puts his first-year salary cap charged at $22.2 million. That's a $15.5 million savings against the cap from what it would have been had the Cowboys franchised him at the $37.7 million charge. And that's money the Cowboys need to just be able to re-sign some of their own free agents.

David Helman: If I learned anything during this two-year saga and the contract that eventually came out of it, it's that you can't out-leverage a quality quarterback in the NFL. In a league where the front offices hold the vast majority of the power, Dak Prescott went up against the most visible front office in the league and won. Not only did he hit the oft-discussed $40 million salary benchmark, but he also secured himself a no-trade clause and a no-tag clause – which effectively means he'll determine his future when this deal is up. The fact that this is all coming after he suffered a major injury is even more amazing. There aren't many players in the NFL who are good enough or important enough to call the shots. With this deal, Dak Prescott just proved that he's one of those select few who can.

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