Why the Washington Football Team could actually steal Dak Prescott from the Cowboys

If the Dallas Cowboys continue to dance around signing Dak Prescott long-term, here's how Washington can swoop in and get him

Dak Prescott, Cowboys
NFL Analysis Network

The saga of the Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott is now into another offseason. The price of a multi-year deal keeps going up. To franchise tag him again this year will cost $37.68 million. A lower salary cap is coming this year, likely to land in the $180-$185 million range. Which creates further urgency to get a long-term deal done. For the Cowboys, anyway.

Prescott simply refuses to undervalue himself. After the Cowboys went 4-7 without him last season, his leverage in contract talks only grew. Owner Jerry Jones openly said as much right after the season ended during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan.

“Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that he doesn’t “know how you could have any more leverage” than Prescott has going into the next round of discussions.”

March 9 is the franchise tag deadline. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys would like to get a long-term deal done before then.

If Prescott for some reason doesn’t sign the franchise tender right away, it will put the Cowboys in a weird position. They could rescind the tag at some point, which is unlikely but possible. Then Prescott to hit the open market. Of course not placing the tag on him at all would also allow him to hit the market unabated. Yet another unlikely but possible option is a tag and trade.

How the Washington Football Team Could Get Dak Prescott

In the category of “someone had to win it”, Washington won the NFC East with a 7-9 record in 2020. They also gave the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers a solid test in the Wild Card Round, when Taylor Heinicke started under center in place of Alex Smith. This is a team on the rise, in a division that should remain there for the taking.

Washington has already re-signed Heinicke, and Smith could be back if he decides to keep playing. But it’s hard to envision either one as Washington’s clear-cut starter next season, with $38.27 million in cap space right now to give them options. Cutting Smith, cold as it might seem unless he asks for it, would clear another $14.7 million in cap space ($8.6 million in dead money). A post-June 1 designation for cutting Smith of course moves the numbers favorably for Washington, In that case, they’d clear $19 million in cap space with $4.3 million in dead money.

Right now, it’s a small percentage chance that Prescott hits the open market this offseason. But the Cowboys have slow-played the situation, to their detriment. The hint of the idea they think they can replace him if he won’t play the game on their terms is hard to ignore. To this point, with no signs of bending, he has not played the game on anything but his terms. Based on what the market should bear, holding his line is well-warranted for Prescott.

The contracts Jared Goff and Carson Wentz got, around the time the Cowboys should have locked up Prescott long-term in hindsight, are a part of the equation that can’t be forgotten.

If, and it’s a very huge ‘if’, Prescott tells the Cowboys he won’t sign the franchise tender again and a multi-year deal doesn’t get done by the practical deadline of March 9, a trip to the open market becomes far more possible. Washington should be first in line to sign Prescott then. They would bolster their own quarterback situation, and weaken a division rival in one big swoop.