In a highly anticipated move, the Dallas Cowboys have applied the franchise tag to quarterback Dak Prescott for the 2020 season, a high-ranking Cowboys front office source confirmed told WFAA on Monday.

As a result, Prescott is locked in as a Cowboy for 2020 and cannot negotiate with other teams.  

He will cost $31.6 million against the Cowboys salary cap this season, unless the organization and Prescott's representatives can come to a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline.   

If they don't, Prescott can only sign a one-year deal for 2020, and the Cowboys can't extend that contract until after the 2020 regular season has come to an end.

It means the Cowboys have Prescott for at least one more year, but it also increases the bargaining position for Prescott, who wants a long-term contract with high-end quarterback money.  

Now that the franchise tag has been applied, chances are good that Prescott's price just went up.

And now, as the Cowboys begin their potentially four-month odyssey to sign Dak long term, they have to continue the process of trying to lock up four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.

With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Cowboys have around $72 million of cap space this offseason, according a projection from USA Today.  Prescott's franchise tag will take up a significant portion of that space.

And the Cowboys still have to sign Cooper, defensive end Robert Quinn, and at least make a cursory effort on the likely-outward bound Byron Jones.  And if Jones is indeed gone, they need to replace him somehow, either via free agency or the draft.

If Dallas can come to a long-term deal with Prescott, his $31.6 million cap hit would undoubtedly decrease substantially, as they would be able spread the money out over the life of the deal.  And that would help them in the process of signing other big targets.

In 2019, Prescott had a career year, setting high-water marks for touchdown passes (30), passing yards (4,902), and yards per attempt (8.2).  

Early in the season, he was an en vogue MVP candidate, and throughout 2019, he pushed the Cowboys offense to a level not seen in his four years in Dallas.

Through his rookie contract, Prescott was a bargain.  

His first three seasons he made $450,000, $540,000, and $630,000.  Last year he made $2.02 million.  

In his eventual long-term deal, Prescott is expected to make between $34-37 million per year, with a guaranteed money total in excess of $100 million. 

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