Even after his 2020 season ended in Week 5 with a gruesome broken ankle, Dak Prescott had tremendous leverage in his negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys.
On Monday, he used it to break the record for most guaranteed money ever in an NFL contract. The precedent-setting deal could now dictate the future of how the league pays its stars.
Prescott’s four-year, $160 million contract extension ends a years-long standoff between America’s Team and its franchise quarterback.
- The contract includes a $66 million signing bonus, which means that Prescott will make a single-season record $75 million in 2021.
- $126 million is guaranteed at signing — the most ever in NFL history.
- He will be in line for a new deal at age 31 when the contract expires in 2024.
Players must often choose between long-term security and maximizing their earning power, if they can have either. Prescott — a virtually irreplaceable talent at quarterback — gets both. The Cowboys painted themselves into a corner by not extending Prescott sooner, amplifying his negotiating power, compounded by their 4-7 record after losing him.
The cost of employing a healthy Prescott may be cushioned by a new influx of cash to the NFL. As DEC Management pointed out, billionaire owner Jerry Jones likely knows how much money the league has coming in from its latest round of TV contracts.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is sure to have Prescott’s deal in mind as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta sought to deflect any comparison between the two young star quarterbacks on Tuesday: “Every negotiation is different. Every player is different. Every GM is different.”