February 23 is the first day NFL teams can apply the franchise tag to someone on their roster. So, happy Franchise Tag Day! Make sure you text your friends and family about the occasion, OK?
Well-known contributors like Allen Robinson, Shaq Barrett and Kenny Golladay could all receive the designation from their respective clubs, but Dak Prescott is easily the most notable name on the list of potential tag-ees. He played on the tag in 2020 and Dallas will very likely use it if they can't agree to a more permanent contract with the quarterback.
Now, in Washington, fans have pushed aside less attractive QB options for the headliners such as Deshaun Watson and Prescott. It's hard to find a fault in that way of operating, by the way; people don't dream about adding the sensible minivan with ample trunk space to their driveways, after all.
However, if Peter King is correct in his thinking, the Burgundy and Gold can't match what others would offer the Texans in exchange for Deshaun Watson. Therefore, Prescott is the only one left on the list of long-shot solutions.
But if Washington supporters can be patient, perhaps Prescott will become more attainable. Who's ready for some crazy conjecturing?
The Cowboys and No. 4 have been at the negotiating table for quite some time now, and it doesn't appear that much negotiating is really happening. Even though Jerry Jones and the organization's front office often praise Prescott, and even though he's continued to improve throughout his career (with last year's leg injury halting what could've been his best campaign yet), no real progress appears to have been made.
So, let's say that, once again, the two sides can't meet in the middle and Prescott is tagged once again. You'd think that couldn't possibly be the outcome for 2021, but just assume that it is for this story. What would happen after that?
Two Dallas legends share the same opinion.
"That will be the last we see of Dak Prescott [in Dallas]," Troy Aikman said.
"Dak ain’t gonna be here after that," Drew Pearson said. "The man has a lot of pride and he sees what’s going on."
Keep those takes in mind when you read this quote from Ron Rivera, which he delivered in early February in a press conference when asked if he believes he must locate Washington's next solidified signal-caller as soon as possible.
"We’ve got to make sure we find the right one," the coach said. "That’s the key. Is it imperative to find the right guy now? No, not necessarily. We would love to, but as we go through this process, we’re going to exhaust all avenues. We’re going to take nice, long looks at every option we have out there that’s available to us. We’ll go with the one we think is best for us going forward. Would I like to find him? Absolutely. Are we in a hurry? No."
Get where this is going?
If Rivera and Washington arrive at the conclusion after those "nice, long looks" that their "guy" isn't in this year's crop of passers, then maybe they can choose someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Cam Newton to guide them through 2020 before launching a pursuit for Prescott in 12 or so months from now. While Dallas has handled him as if he's not, Prescott is the sort of leader and passer worth building around.
This is admittedly a complex route to try and travel, and the route could get closed off at any moment if the Cowboys are able to put pen to paper with the 27-year-old. But in the event that they don't, and Prescott feels disrespected enough by the lack of commitment, then things might heat up.
The understandable obsession with the NFL leads most to focus on what's about to happen. Those who reside inside the league's buildings, though, are always pondering what may unfold after what's about to unfold, and in Prescott's case, that kind of vision could result in a terrific prize.