If there's any animosity between the Cowboys and Dak Prescott because the two sides failed to come to terms on a long-term contract before the deadline earlier this month, it's hard to tell.
At least from the Cowboys' perspective, there seems to be nothing but excitement about Prescott leading the team into this 2020 season that undoubtedly will have its share of challenges, both on and off the field.
But in a recent virtual interview on DallasCowboys.com, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said there is absolutely no hard feelings about not getting a deal done.
"We had a great visit with him at the deadline. We pushed to try to have a few more changes here and there to see if we could get it done," Jones said of the NFL's July 15 deadline for teams to negotiate long-term deals with players under the franchise tag. "But he's got such a great outlook on the Dallas Cowboys, our football team, and he's ready to go out and win a Super Bowl, which would only create more value for him, more value for the Cowboys.
"So we're fired up about it and still have nothing but 100 percent belief in Dak and his future with the Cowboys, and that we can ultimately get a deal done. He's special. As Jerry and I have said, we are 110 percent behind him, and ultimately feel like we'll get this done."
When asked how close they got to finalizing a deal, Stephen Jones would only say there were extensive talks right up to the deadline.
"I don't want to use 'close' in terms of negotiations. You either get a deal done or you don't," he said. "We didn't quite get it done. I wouldn't put blame on either side. It's just one of those things, when you're talking about a deal as big as this is – for our team, not just for Dak but our entire team, the ramifications that it has – we certainly want to get it done right. I know he's respectful of Jerry and myself of what we're trying to get accomplished, just as we are with him."
Undoubtedly, this is a season that has already seen plenty of change because of COVID-19 and that uncertainty will likely continue as we get closer to the season. Without making excuses, Stephen Jones cited these unprecedented times as part of the holdup in getting this contract finalized.
"We've never had one quite like it. It's certainly very interesting times when you look at what's going on with having to sit down with the union and negotiate what goes on with the virus when the revenues aren't where they should be," Jones said. "So we had some challenges because it wasn't normal times. Certainly, we've got nothing but respect for Dak and his representation in terms of what they're trying to get out of the deal.
"They certainly want a shorter deal. Historically we have, as management, wanted longer deals because it's more cap friendly and we're able to spread some things out and keep some players. At the end of the day, and Dak understands this, that's what we're trying to do."
Prescott has signed his $31.4 million franchise tender and will play the 2020 season under the tag. Following the season, the two sides can revisit their contract talks and work on getting a new contract, or the Cowboys can place the tag on him for a second year. That figure would be in the range of $38 million. That's a hefty price tag regardless of the season but could be even greater depending on what happens with next year's salary cap.