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What signing franchise tag means for Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott has officially signed his franchise tender, guaranteeing him $31.4 million for the 2020 season if a long-term deal isn’t reached by July 15.
Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott speaks during a news conference following a loss to the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Chicago.

DALLAS — Dak Prescott signed his franchise tag tender on Monday, which doesn’t prevent a contract extension but might alter negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the biggest items on the to-do list for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason was to ink quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal. Since that never occurred, the team slapped the franchise tag on Prescott in March to keep him from hitting the open market.

In the months since, the sides still haven’t come to a deal. With the July 15 deadline staring the Cowboys in the face, it would be an optimal time to get moving on making a deal to keep the QB with the team for the foreseeable future.

RELATED: Dak Prescott has officially signed his $31.4 million exclusive franchise tag, Cowboys source says

Prescott appears to have made the first move. Prescott has officially signed his franchise tender, guaranteeing him $31.4 million for the 2020 season if a long-term deal isn’t reached.

Jumping on the chance to sign now looks like a surprising tactic from Prescott, as he never had to officially sign the franchise tag offer to get paid or even play in 2020. Refusing to sign the tender would have been an extra acrimonious step in negotiations, which is not one that Prescott seemed likely to take, however.

Prescott was not expected to hold out or not play in 2020 with over $30 million on the table. Prescott has been known as a team player and a leader for the Cowboys pretty much from the first day he suited up. 

Most assumed he would sign the tender and play the season under the franchise tag even if a full extension isn’t reached. Consider it a bit of an olive branch from the franchise QB.

And so, signing the tender now might just get the ball rolling on the contract talks. Jerry and Stephen Jones have often said deadlines make deals, and July 15 is creeping up. There is no downside to Prescott signing the tag. The hope now is that both sides will sit down and agree to a long-term deal.

That has always been the goal. The franchise tag was only a way to ensure that Prescott plays for the Cowboys in this upcoming season. The tender is a bridge to getting an agreement, which all parties are hoping happens. It’s in the best interests of the team to keep their star QB for years to come and any long-term deal should secure Prescott’s financial future as well.

Prescott might have also signed so he can get into meetings and learn the nuances of the new playbook. Some of the offense and verbiage might stay the same under Kellen Moore, but there is little doubt that Mike McCarthy will be adding his expertise and input.

Prescott has missed all of those virtual learning sessions so far, signing his tender will help bring him up to speed. With training camp about a month away, Prescott will need to get acclimated to the new wrinkles in the offense.

There won’t be a holdout from Prescott and Andy Dalton will be the backup QB, as intended when the Cowboys signed him. Things are pointing in the right direction for Prescott and Dallas. All that’s needed now is a long-term deal, so expect a tense few weeks leading up to the July 15 deadline.

Dak Prescott will be the starting QB for the Cowboys when, and if, the season begins. That doubt has now been erased; it was much ado about nothing.

Do you think Dak Prescott will eventually sign a long-term deal with Dallas this summer? Share your predictions with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.

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