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Cowboys ready to “work hard” to get Dak Prescott signed long-term

Mike Florio and Chris Simms reveal their superlatives for Week 17 as Aaron Rodgers comes close to locking up the NFL MVP, the concern over Tua Tagovailoa and more.

The Cowboys played four quarterbacks this season. They missed the playoffs by one game.

That says more about the ineptitude of the NFC East than anything else, but the Cowboys expect to compete for more than the division title in 2021 when their starting quarterback returns. Dak Prescott ranks as the best quarterback in the division hands down.

But Prescott also isn’t signed for 2021.

Now that the Cowboys’ season has ended, they can get back to the business at hand -- getting a long-term deal completed with Prescott.

If the Cowboys have to use the franchise tag on Prescott again in 2021, it will cost them $37.68 million. They want to sign Prescott to a long-term deal, and he wants a long-term deal.

But the sides already had a 19-month window in which to negotiate a long-term deal and couldn’t reach an agreement.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones calls getting Prescott under contract a priority.

“Certainly at the top. Certainly right there at the top in terms of contracts, obviously,” Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan. “One of the things we’re going to have to see is where we are [with the salary cap] and that will affect everybody. It will affect all 32. It will affect our team. It’s just the consequence the virus has had on our cap situation going forward and where is that salary cap going to be? What kind of cap are we going to manage into? So, all of those things will play a role in terms of players that we keep that are under contract, what potentially we can sign. Obviously, Dak being at the top of that list, and then going from there. Fortunate we got a great draft, number of draft picks ahead of us. Unfortunately because of — the unfortunate season we had, it will certainly have us picking higher than we anticipated. So that should help [for next year]. But at the end of the day, we’ll obviously be putting all of this into our evaluation and where we need to go to get back to competing for a championship.”

Prescott injured his ankle in Week 5 against the Giants and needed immediate season-ending surgery. He remained on crutches last week when he attended the Cotton Bowl as a guest of Florida coach Dan Mullen, Prescott’s former college coach.

But the Cowboys have no doubt Prescott will return as good as new. Prescott was leading the league in passing yards when he was injured, which is why he will cost them a big percentage of the cap whether they sign him to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag on him.

“You see where these numbers are for quarterbacks,” Jones said. “The good ones that win year and year out, they do it consistently, and certainly we think we have one in Dak that could be the same thing, and that’s why we’re working, will continue to work hard to get him signed long-term, get him back at the wheel in terms of being his team and moving forward. And we think we can get that kind of consistency from Dak and coach [Mike] McCarthy and this football team.”