Official exclusive franchise tag number gives Dak Prescott even more leverage
The number has arrived for Dak Prescott’s exclusive franchise tag in Dallas. And it gives him even more leverage moving forward.
PFT has confirmed that Dak will receive $31.4 million in 2020. That’s the official average of the five largest quarterback cap numbers for 2020, as of the date on which the window closed for signing restricted free agents to offer sheets.
The number remained at $31.4 million despite restructurings that slashed the 2020 cap numbers of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger because, quite simply, the restructured contracts were filed with the league after the Cowboys applied the franchise tag to Prescott. If Cousins and Roethlisberger had officially restructured their deals even a day earlier, Prescott’s franchise tag number, per a source with knowledge of the calculations, would have been $28.5 million.
It’s an important difference both for 2020 and for 2021. With Prescott entitled to a 20-percent raise under the tag next year, the $31.4 million tag for 2020 will create a two-year payout of $69.08 million. At $28.5 million for 2020, Dak’s two-year payout would have been $62.7 million.
If the Cowboys had used the non-exclusive franchise tender on Dak, he would have received $26.8 million this year and a two-year payout of $58.96 million. Thus, it will cost the Cowboys more than $10 million over the next two years to keep another team from signing Dak to an offer sheet that, if not matched by the Cowboys, would have resulted in two first-round picks as compensation.
Regardless of what the market would bear, the tag formula now drives Dak’s value. By going year to year, he can get $69.07 million over the next two years and then either a 44-percent raise for 2022 ($54.2 million) or a ticket to the open market. (The Cowboys also could chose to apply the transition tag in 2022, giving him only a 20-percent raise, or $45.21 million.)
Thus, it’s not unreasonable for Dak to want $35 million per year at signing. Under the tag, he’ll get more than $34.5 million per year over the next two years, and then most likely a shot at the open market. The question becomes what will it take to get him to trade in those rights under a provision in the CBA that the Cowboys activated by using the exclusive franchise tag?
The simple (and correct) answer is this: A lot.