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What to make of Dak’s Deal?

The end result with the Dak Prescott deal is exactly why teams sign players to longer term extensions early in their development process. Both Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are prime examples. Each player was signed by their original teams in order to eliminate, paying top dollar and the kind of lengthy negotiations that the Cowboys just faced in eventually making the Prescott deal.

This was not a negotiation, it was a hold-up of epic proportions staged by Prescott’s agent, Todd France, and all of Team Dak. All the terms, all the leverage points, the control of the timing, everything Team Dak wanted, they were granted and the Cowboys could do nothing about it.

Terms were dictated to the Cowboys down to the detail of forcing them to use the franchise tag on Dak, for a second time (temporarily) - which even though he has a “no franchise tag clause” in this new deal, it means that in a subsequent one (or third contract in his case) that any club who he is with, is restricted to the rules that come with being a 3-time franchise player, which specifically makes him almost impossible to tag because of the money a team would have to pay. Still think Dak didn’t get everything he wanted?

The only hammer the Cowboys had in this was to pursue a trade and recoup as many parts as possible to help a more complete rebuild. Their current roster is in clear need of that. I would have been exploring this all along. If the rumors are true, and the Chicago Bears are preparing a blockbuster package to offer the Seattle Seahawks for QB Russell Wilson, I would have been first in line to make the call after the Seahawks said NO. If enough was offered, say YES. They chose not to go this route and instead, they take the “bad” with the “good” to complete a two-year contract saga with Prescott.

The way this deal is structured, the Cowboys now have three years to surround their new $40M a year man with enough quality talent to produce deep runs in the playoffs. That’s really the only measurement that matters in my book.

The one thing the Cowboys can hang their hat on is that if they wanted five years of team control, like was said in last summer’s negotiations, they technically got it. The first year was just at the franchise number and then four more in the new contract.

Because they took so long, they were able to stretch out the years of team control, slight as it might be. They can also try to rationalize this move, and have started this already, by saying the new TV deals will raise the cap in a big way in future years.

However, no matter how they look at it, the money committed to the QB takes away from the money that could be used to build out the rest of the team. They will be fighting history. No team has won a Super Bowl with this much salary cap commitment to its QB. Does anyone really think Owner/GM Jerry Jones will be the first to break this string?

The deals we have seen recently and what I think we will see going forward tell me one thing if I’m a player in this market. I want an experienced and capable agent representing my best interests.

Some players are being asked to take pay cuts, others are being released and some are hitting free agency with giant expectations. Qualified representation has never been more valuable. Both team and player have to know the market and some guidelines before making any career-defining decisions.

This is not the time for on-the-job training from agents or a club’s decision makers. Everyone must know their options.

At this point, evaluations and plans are already on the books for teams. It’s about time for them to execute their plan. An organization must have confidence in their decision makers to alter the course of the franchise if need be and adjust on the fly.

On both sides of the negotiating table, it’s really all about options. Sometimes options change in a fast-moving target so you need to have flexibility. I can count the bad deals that I have made as a GM and every one of them can be traced to me not really having a viable option. It’s a lesson in marketplace economics based on supply and demand.

In Prescott’s case, the Cowboys felt they had no options. I may have researched the TRADE card a bit more seriously as an option if I were them. If Prescott really only wanted to play in Dallas, a possible mention of a trade may have worked in the Cowboys favor, even if they didn’t pull the trigger on the transaction.

In the end, agent Todd France led the Cowboys down the road of no return and basically was responsible for giving them a take it or leave it deal with his client. I’m not surprised at the contract numbers, but I’m shocked the Cowboys didn’t see this coming.

In my opinion, the structure of this deal will bring us right back here in three short years and $126M later. After that time period, the Cowboys will have another decision to make and it’s really the same path we just covered. They can re-sign him, trade him (to a team of his choosing) or release him. Here is hoping they learn one thing—GIVE YOURSELF OPTIONS. As we have learned from watching what happened, negotiating is all about timing and sometimes it can be fluid so dont be afraid to pull the trigger when it swings your way like it did for Dak.

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