From the Press Box: Franchise tag or no franchise tag? The case of Dak Precott.


Franchise tag or no franchise tag? The case of Dak Precott.

Now that all of the confetti from Super Bowl LIV has been cleaned up and the locker rooms for all 32 teams have been cleared, the fun talk for the 2020 season has been started. 

Among these topics is what to do at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and whether to pay Dak Prescott for that position.

The Cowboys have already stated their intentions to place the franchise tag on the signal-caller. 

The franchise tag, as we have covered before, is a temporary, one-year contract at the Top 5 for that position. Players typically hate franchise tags because it has no long-term security behind it.

That being said, Prescott has already answered the Cowboys intent by stating he won’t be involved in offseason training activities (OTAs) and training camp without a long-term deal.

I personally don’t blame him for two reasons. One, OTAs and camp is just another opportunity for a freak accident injury to happen to a quarterback. Should that happen and he is on a one-year deal from the franchise tag, he now loses money because injury always stirs up questions leading to financial loss.

Secondly, Prescott is 40-24 as a starter (again, not a fan of win-loss records for quarterbacks but it is what it is) and is coming off a career-high in yards and touchdowns.

In four years he has also led the Cowboys to two playoff appearances and already has a playoff win under his belt.

So what gives? 

On one hand, if the Cowboys franchise tag Prescott and he doesn’t perform well and they miss the playoffs again the Cowboys look smart and can move off of him.

Him skipping offseason activities could spell disaster for the Cowboys as they will likely be running a new system with new head coach Mike McCarthy. 

But if Prescott repeats this past season’s performance and the Cowboys make the playoffs or better in the weak NFC East, they are just kicking the can down the road a little further and they are facing a similar situation. 

I personally think now is the best time to pay Prescott. Quarterbacks that become the highest-paid player in the NFL typically hold that title for a short time as the next quarterback’s pay-day comes forward and there is one name the Cowboys need to beat: Patrick Mahomes.

Hypothetically speaking, while his contract is not due up until after 2021 season, the Kansas City Chiefs is looking at paying the Super Bowl MVP as early as this offseason. Should they do that, Mahomes will be looking at a $40 million/year deal which would be a ridiculously high amount, but look at his production.

If the Cowboys wait too long, and Mahomes gets paid before Prescott, Prescott could force their hand and get paid a larger contract than Mahomes which would logically make little sense. But, business is business. Even Andy Dalton in Cincinnati was the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at one time. So was Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill at one time.

If the Cowboys move off Prescott, they will also be in quarterback purgatory and as a Broncos fan, trust me when I say that is not somewhere you want to be. 

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at

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