FROM HOME, Texas – Now that the Sahara Desert-like dust has settled from the Cowboys-Dak no deal on a long-term contract, let's cut through the raging fallout this has produced.
First: Keep getting asked why the two sides could not agree on a contract, leaving both parties to deal with the upside and downside of the $31.4 million franchise tag.
This one is easy. Money. Isn't it always? One side wants too much for the other's taste. The other side is offering far less.
Next: We have a good idea of what the Cowboys have been offering, a five-year deal averaging right around $35 million ($175 package), with $110 guaranteed and a $50 million signing bonus. Now tell me, what is Dak Prescott's agent, Todd France, asking for? No one is sure. $40 million a year? $45 million a year? And over just four years? Who knows?
And if so, does that mean next year they will ask for a three-year deal?
Next: The deal didn't get done because the Cowboys aren't sure Dak is their QB of the future? Well, if they didn't think that, why the heck are they paying him $31.4 million this year to keep his rights? Seems rather extravagant for a fifth-year internship.
Next: Dak has yet to prove himself. Prove himself? The guy only led the top-ranked offense in the National Football League in 2019. The Cowboys gained more yards in a single season than they ever previously have. They had the No. 2-ranked passing offense, more passing yards than they ever previously have. And of the 597 passes the Cowboys threw in 2019, Dak threw 596 of them.
Next: Dak bet on himself playing out his rookie deal, and lost, since he didn't produce a winning season and he failed to get them in the playoffs. Hmmm, two of those eight losses were 12-10 on the road to the Saints when not giving up a touchdown and 13-9 on the road in a driving rainstorm to New England. And if you remember, in that New Orleans game, the Cowboys lose two fumbles crossing the Saints' 50-yard line. And in the New England game, a blocked punt recovered by the Patriots at the Cowboys' 12-yard line set up the only touchdown of the game since neither offense, even the one with Tom Brady, did squat.
Next: Dak has to take the Cowboys this season – if there is a season – to their first Super Bowl in 25 years or at least to the NFC title game to earn a long-term deal for 2021. Come on.
And lastly: Dak really doesn't want to be here, will play these next two seasons on franchise tags, make the $70 million dollars he could have made this year on a long-term deal, and be gone, just like Kirk Cousins pulled in Washington. Probably then shouldn't have bought his dad that new house.
Now on to the shots.
- Sorry, One More: Also, let's not forget the Cowboys do have a budget, and do have a salary cap. And not for just this year, but next year, too. So in 2021, if Dak is franchised again at $37.7 million, that will give the Cowboys eight players counting at least $9.8 million against the cap. Those eight would consume $145.2 million in cap space that very well could decrease from this year's $198.4 million. Even if the cap goes up the to the projected $212 million, those eight would account for 68 percent of the cap.
- Zeke 'Em: Go ahead Ezekiel Elliott, you tell 'em. Keeps seeing his ranking among NFL running backs declining. Shame on him for finishing second in most yards from scrimmage with 1,777 and scoring 14 touchdowns. He only played for the NFL's No. 1 offense and No. 2 passing offense. And with just one football at a time.
- Dead Cap: Funny how some want it both ways. Cowboys regularly criticized for caving in during negotiations to overpay players, but then criticized for not paying Dak enough when toeing the bottom line. So this year the Cowboys have $7.67 million in dead money so far against the cap, with $6.3 million created by Travis Frederick's retirement ($4.975) and $1.358 million wasted on Taco Charlton. And Frederick will count another $6.65 million next year.
- Shielding Up: Wondering if NFL players are more willing to wear face shields for added protection against contracting the coronavirus that NFL medical experts are advocating than people in this state are willing to wear mere masks that should be demanded. Yep, the NFL has teamed up with Oakley for the Oakley Mouth Shield. The upper shield features the Oakley Prizm Lens technology used by skiers and military personnel and some players for enhanced color and contrast in visors. Then a plastic sheet extends down attached to the bottom of the faceguard, complete with airways and openings on the mouth shield. The Rams and Chargers already have been issued the protective gear for a trial basis, along with some player reps and equipment managers. Quarterbacks tested had no problems calling plays and so far the shields have displayed a high success rate blocking the spraying of replicated droplets.
- The Apocalypse Upon Us: Saw this the other day driving down the road, a lady in her huge Infinity SUV with a face mask covering from the bottom of her chin to right beneath her eyes. Yet, propping up her cellphone on the steering wheel reading going 60 mph on the lane next to me. Have mercy.
- Like This: The NFL is considering a change to the injured reserve policy as a concession to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition committee recommending unlimited player IR returns instead of the previous three and just a three-week stay on IR instead of the mandatory eight-week stay. Makes sense because players are not immune to testing positive.
- Here's The Deal: The NFL is sending all its members a 31-page COVID-19 policy and procedure manual along with a four-minute video outlining many of the policies being implemented upon a return to facilities – July 28 for the Cowboys, just 10 days away. This will include outlining restricted areas, screening protocols upon entrance, mandatory mask wearing inside the facility, proper social distancing inside the facility and upon entrance, hospital-grade cleansing in player areas three times a day, automated or no-touch door entrances and premade meals in individually-wrapped containers or bags.
And the last word goes to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, certainly directed to his members, but should be to the entire country: "Nothing will bring fans back to our stadiums faster than the simple decision across the country to wear a mask."
Amen to what doesn't seem as simple as that to so many.