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Mailbag: Where Does It Go From Here For Dak?


Perhaps you guys can help me understand why the Cowboys seem to have so much difficulty negotiating long-term contracts compared to other teams in the league? Is it stubbornness or are they constantly trying to get greater value than what the market sets? – DAVE SMITH / LIVERMORE, CA

Nick: I don't know if I'd agree that this is a trend. Jerry said last summer about Zeke, "when have I never gotten a deal done?" So this doesn't always happen and truthfully, they haven't really missed out on Dak yet. They can keep him for two more years if they want to. But Jerry is a businessman and he's always been a tough negotiator. In this case, it sounds like the Cowboys were trying make Dak a top 5 QB financially. And there's not many people who would rank him a top 5 QB in ability. So I don't think they were trying to get added value.

David: I'll give you two suggestions. Firstly, I'd point out that we pay much closer attention to the Cowboys' contract negotiations than any other team's. So I'm not sure it's fair to say that no other team in the league deals with these issues – because honestly I don't know if that's true or not. But I will say this: it's obvious that the front office views playing for the Dallas Cowboys as an enormous perk. They have said as much. It's hard to disagree with them. Cowboys players are far more visible and far more lucrative than many of their counterparts because they play for the biggest, most popular team in the NFL. But when the front office approaches negotiations with that mindset, they're not always going to see eye-to-eye with the player about the fair value of the deal. In my personal opinion, I think some of their problems stem from that.

I would love to see Dak remain the Cowboys QB. But, if the Cowboys haven't been able to sign him in two years of negotiating, is it time to think about extending Dalton for 2-3 years while working on drafting and developing Dak's replacement? – WARREN BRODEUR / McDONOUGH, GA

Nick: Man, how crazy would that be – sign Dalton to an extension now. That would create more drama than we need right now. I think the Cowboys just play this year out and see what happens. You don't need to extend the backup. If you don't sign Dak next year and he goes somewhere else, then the Cowboys would likely look for a cheaper veteran and I'm sure Dalton would be considered.

David: I would think about doing that if I was about to lose Dak to the open market, but that's not the situation. The Cowboys still have two more tags than can use on Dak if they absolutely have to. Now I do agree with you that this raises some questions about the long-term future. The Cowboys need to spend the next few months thinking long and hard about where they want to go. Forcing Dak to play on a second consecutive tag sounds like a financial nightmare – not to mention a ton of drama. In 2021, they need to either take steps toward finding his replacement or give him a long-term deal. Dak's level of play this season will (hopefully) help them make that decision.

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