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Postponement of offseason program avoids showdown between Cowboys, Dak Prescott

NFL offseason programs won't be happening with the COVID-19 crisis and teams will have a challenging time navigating around the restrictions with some players due workout bonuses.

The Cowboys should have opened their offseason program on Monday. The indefinite postponement of the team’s offseason helped quarterback Dak Prescott delay a potential dilemma.

Dak, by all appearances had planned to not show up for the start of the offseason program without a long-term contract. That’s something franchise-tagged quarterbacks rarely do, in large part because quarterbacks rarely are franchise tagged.

It would have been a very aggressive move from Prescott, especially if the absence had lingered into the OTAs and minicamps. And it would have pressures the Cowboys to get something done, so that they would have their starting quarterback present as their new head coach gets the team up to speed.

That would have made things very real for both sides, but it could have sparked criticism of Dak. With the offseason program not starting, Dak didn’t have to draw a line in the sand and follow through on it. If there’s no offseason program this year, he won’t have to boycott any of the pre-preseason sessions.

And so the real deadline for Prescott and the Cowboys will continue to be July 15, the annual deadline for franchise-tagged players signing multi-year deals. If no deal is done by then, the Cowboys can’t sign Dak to a contract with a term of longer than one year until the 2020 season ends.

And if that happens, Dak and the Cowboys could do it all over again in 2021, with a 20-percent raise under the franchise tag and the looming possibility of Dak hitting the market in 2022, when he’d be entitled to a 44-percent raise if franchise-tagged again.