The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the strangest anomalies in the NFL since Dak Prescott took over as the starting QB in 2016.
Season after season, Prescott performs as well as the top quarterbacks in the NFL for the first 17 games, but chokes in the playoffs and the Cowboys have an early exit.
This year felt different.
Mike McCarthy took over play calling after parting ways with Kellen Moore and the offense exploded. Prescott and WR CeeDee Lamb — who earned First-Team All-Pro honors in 2023 — emerged as the top QB/WR in the NFL
Dak Prescott finished the regular season as a strong MVP candidate after wrapping up one of the best campaigns of his NFL career. The Dallas Cowboys QB led the NFL in several key categories with 4,516 passing yards (third), 36 touchdowns (1st), nine interceptions and a QBR of 72.7 (second in the NFL).
Now Jerry Jones and the Cowboys brass find themselves in an all-too familiar position. With Prescott nearing the end of his last major contract extension, Dallas has to either sign him to a new long-term deal to help free cap space for 2024, or release him after June 1 which would save almost $30 million on next year’s cap number but the team would lose a massive chunk of change in dead money owed to the one-time hopeful franchise QB.
Dallas Cowboys Insider Believes Team Will Make Drastic Decision Regarding Dak Prescott This Offseason
The analysis from K.D. Drummond of Cowboys Wire, who covered the major possibilities of what could happen with Prescott in the offseason on his podcast, “Catch This Fade!”
He started with the least likely, which would be the one some Cowboys fans would quickly vote for, just letting Prescott and his sad-sack 2-5 playoff record walk altogether.
He explained more: “The Cowboys could cu Prescott, save his $29 million, still have $30 million in dead money based on the bonus money they’ve paid him in the past, the roster bonus he is due in March and basically just save $29 million off their cap next year.”
At the salary cap site OverTheCap.com, writer Jason Fitzgerald also raised the notion of cutting Prescott, and wrote, “If for some crazy reason the Cowboys wanted to cut Dak Prescott they could but it would be costly. He would need to be released before the roster bonus is due and even then the Cowboys would need to account for $61.915 million in salary cap charges. … My guess is Dallas would opt to June 1 Prescott if for any reason it came down to this.”
Drummond agrees that a Dak Prescott cut would come after June 1, but adds that the team would need to have drafted a quarterback they believe in for that to be realistic
“There’s no way they do this without drafting a quarterback, right? Sitting at 24, unless they’re going to mortgage future picks, there’s no way to guarantee that a quarterback is going to fall to them. In my estimation, this would be a June 1 cut,” Drummond said.
In a way, the h Dallas Cowboys have painted themselves into a corner when it comes to Dak Prescott.. He has a no-trade clause in his deal, so he can’t necessarily be dealt. They owe him $59 million in 2024, which gives him a lot of leverage in negotiations—at worst, he can walk away from the table and the Cowboys will have to pay him that money. Again, a cut is a longshot here.
Ultimately, Drummond believes Jones and company will sign Prescott to a long-term extension to free up salary cap space and hope for the best come playoff time.
There’s really no other logical other option. Prescott is set to earn roughly $57 million per year and it’s likely Dallas pays him.
“I think that’s what’s in store for Prescott, whether it is a four-year or a five-year deal,” Drummond said.