The negotiations between Dak Prescott and the Cowboys was always going to cause debate.
In case you somehow missed it there was a report (and later a few that opposed it) that Dak Prescott is seeking $40M per year from the Dallas Cowboys. Right? Amazing that we’re all still here.
This, predictably, set off several wheels into motion. Debates were had, arguments waged on, statistics were used as examples, and many opinions were unchanged. Dak Prescott has been at the center of two of the biggest debates in the history of this site (him against Tony Romo and him getting paid against him not), being the quarterback of the Cowboys is a polarizing job.
$40M per year (if that were to actually happen) would put Prescott atop all quarterbacks when it comes to average annual value. The current top five:
- Russell Wilson............ $35M per season
- Ben Roethlisberger.... $34M per season
- Aaron Rodgers........... $33.5M per season
- Carson Wentz............. $32M per season
- Matt Ryan................... $30M per season
You’ll note that all of these deals have been struck since the 2017 season ended, as in since last offseason. These have all literally happened over the last year and slight change, and they all (generally) manage to top one another in some way. That is the way that the quarterback position works from a financial perspective.
It’s also apparent that the figure at the top belongs to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. He is paid $35M per year and $40M would obviously be more than that. Prescott’s NFC East counterpart Carson Wentz makes $32M and there is plenty of reason to believe that he would top Wentz, putting him somewhere potentially near Wilson’s territory.
This means that Prescott could land somewhere around $34M to $35M when it comes to his annual value. That is obviously below the reported $40M that he asked for.
So why on earth is it shocking then that he would potentially ask for $40M?
When you’re negotiating for anything, literally anything, you offer less than you’re ultimately willing to pay, right?
If you’re selling something, maybe a house or car, you set the price as more than you’d be content with accepting, right?
This is literally what is happening with Dak Prescott.
Somehow, thanks to the polarizing nature of Prescott, this simple truth of negotiation is getting buried. Is it possible that Dak Prescott’s camp truly wants $40M per season? It exists in the world of all potential possibilities yes, and of course nobody would say no to more money, but it’s extremely likely that this isn’t the case.
What’s likely happening here is that Team Prescott is asking for more ($40M) than they’re willing to accept (let’s call it $34M to $35M). There are millions and millions examples of people doing this over the course of human history!
The merits of Dak Prescott being worth [insert amount of money here] are certainly up for debate, but it is undeniable that it his turn on the “quarterback getting paid” carousel, and his resume is up to par for getting paid. The indisputable fact is that franchise quarterback salaries continue to rise means that he would get paid near the top of that list, which thanks to how much it’s grown is a handful below $40M per year.
Consider that part of the report was that Prescott turned down $30M per year. Of course he would do that. That’s currently the fifth-highest annual value among quarterbacks. Why would he accept that without countering something more? Perhaps something significantly more in an effort to land somewhere in the middle (the middle of 30 and 40 happens to be 35!).
Now that the $40M per year number has been made public (intentionallly) when Dak Prescott eventually signs for $32M, it’ll appear as though the Cowboys won, even though Dak will have signed a contract well north of his calculated valuation.— Spotrac (@spotrac) August 12, 2019
There are politics and strategies involved with making money in professional sports (heck in anything) and this is all part of that. Prescott’s camp can’t just approach the Cowboys with the lowest number that they’re happy with because nobody would do that in any sort of business negotiation.
It’s not hard to understand what is happening with Dak Prescott, but who he is and what surrounds that has clouded our ability to see what’s going on. This is normal. This is expected. This is how all deals are hammered out between two parties.
Dak Prescott and his team may or may not be asking for $40M per year from the Dallas Cowboys, but if they are it makes absolute sense for them to do so. It’s only what every single person in that situation has done over the course of all time.