The never ending drama of the Cowboys and Dak Prescott’s contract dilemma has finally come to an end with Prescott signing a massive four year, $160 million contract that, for all intents and purposes makes him the highest paid player in the NFL.
According to multiple reports Prescott will receive $126 million in guarantees. That number far surpasses Deshaun Watson’s $111.9 million guarantee and is second only to Patrick Mahomes’ $141 million. Mahomes signed a ten year contract so there is no real basis to use Mahomes as a comparison for anything.
Adam Schefter shared some more details of the contract which show the strength of the contract.
The deal can be worth up to $164 million, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2021
The deal includes $66 million to sign and $75 million in year one, the most in NFL history. https://t.co/bt7uBY2v7w
Both of these are record NFL numbers. Russell Wilson had the top signing bonus and first year cash flows in the NFL at $65 million and $71 million respectively. Prescott will jump the signing bonus by $1 million and receive a big $4 million bump over his first year earnings. Basically this is double what he would have received this year on the franchise tag.
The $126 million guarantee is likely the three year cash number which would also rank 1st in the NFL. Prior to this signing Watson was first in the NFL with $124 million over three years. Dallas and Houston both use similar contract structures with workouts usually buried in the base salaries so I would imagine that is the same structure here.
As far as cap charges go it will depend on if Dallas did or did not use void years. Based on Schefter’s tweet the first year cap number should be either $25.5 million or $22.2 million, which is much less than the $37M+ he would have counted on the tag.
This contract will create a new standard in the league which is going to be the baseline used by Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Baker Mayfield if the three continue to improve next season.
In hindsight was the waiting worth it for Dallas? In light of the injury definitely not. Even with the injury probably not. Dallas’ five year commitment to Prescott will average out to about $38.3 million per season with $157.4M in guarantees. I think they would have gotten a better deal last year had they worked within the four year parameters.
In any event it is a great contract for Prescott and shows some of the power that comes if quarterbacks get to the franchise tag. Its something Ive wondered for years why more QBs do not force the issue to get there. All it does is create leverage due to salary cap pressures and the strain that comes with a third tag. The last QB to do this was Kirk Cousins and he signed the best contract in the NFL. Dak did the same here. More QB’s should think similar when presented with extension offers that dont blow away the market.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.