Cowboys News: Everyone has an opinion on Dak Prescott contract negotiations

NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Plus, Amari Cooper has a concerning injury.

Will Cowboys ‘completely cave’ to Dak Prescott? Eagles refused to wait in their deal with Carson Wentz - Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports

The Eagles and Seahawks both got contract extensions done for their franchise quarterbacks, and now Dak Prescott seems to be next in line. Amid reports of his agent asking for a significantly larger contract than was offered, many are wondering how this might end up.

Prescott’s dragging negotiation with Dallas (and the reality that it could get ugly) is why Wentz’s four-year, $128 million extension was finalized in June, locking up the Eagles’ starting quarterback through 2024. All while Dallas is still sitting without a deal with Prescott, and looking more likely to use the franchise tag on him with each passing week.

For the Cowboys, there’s no longer any doubt about whether this negotiation has reached choppy waters. Multiple reports have already pegged Prescott’s camp having turned down $30 million per season and the NFL Network has reported that Prescott’s starting point is an annual salary of $40 million. A second league source familiar with the Cowboys negotiations said the ultimate goal of the quarterback’s representation is exceeding an extension similar to the one signed by the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, who signed a four-year, $140 million deal in April. Such a deal would top Wilson’s $35 million annual salary as the highest paid player in the NFL.

Those numbers might help bring into focus a comment made by Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, who told Dallas radio station 1310 The Ticket in July the team “damn sure” wouldn’t be a market-setter when it came to deals. Multiple sources have told Yahoo Sports that Jones has stood as the tone-setter in the negotiations for all of Dallas’ elite level deals that have been discussed this offseason – from defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who signed an extension in April, to Prescott, wideout Amari Cooper and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Dak Prescott contract rumors: How much he will likely be paid, and why he deserves it - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

Dak Prescott may or may not actually be asking for $40 million a year, but either way it must be remembered that when a team and a player are engaged in contract negotiations, the leaked reports can often become part of the negotiations as opposed to just being information.

Don’t bet on Prescott surpassing Wilson by $5 million per year, if at all, unless you enjoy losing your own money. That report has also now been disputed, which furthers my point on avoiding the proverbial carrot chase, because even leaked information is part of the negotiation process. Teams routinely time leaks and frame them in a way that applies pressure to players, knowing players will be made to look selfish if they reply via the media in combative form. The retaliation usually comes from an upset agent, who wants in on the monopolized headline grab.

Length of contract and guaranteed money on such a deal?

Nobody yet knows, and that’s why all of the leaked intel can be viewed as nothing more than a “framing” by one side or both. Lawrence experienced this same thing in April, but the nature of recency bias might make the Lawrence talks feel like they were years ago when, in fact, things were exceedingly contentious between the veteran pass rusher and the Cowboys only four short months ago. It took Lawrence being subject two franchise tags -- the second he refused to sign -- and having to weaponize a torn labrum in order to force the hand of the front office into finally caving.

The situation with Prescott is still currently positive on both sides, but never forget how unforgiving the process can be.

The notion that Dak Prescott wants $40M per season was absurd the minute it surfaced, which begs one question - Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay Dallas

When reports first surfaced that Dak Prescott had asked for $40 million, there were knee jerk reactions all around the nation. Now it seems that might not be accurate. Either way, Tim Cowlishaw wonders why the Cowboys front office keeps tarnishing the reputation of its players during contract negotiations.

There’s no need to keep putting out information that paints the stars of this franchise as money-grubbing ingrates. League rules compel teams to spend to a certain level, so players seek their fair share.

When Prescott changed agents a year ago, it was a sign that he was going for big money, which is his right. The Cowboys almost certainly have added to his eventual total by waiting for Wilson, Carson Wentz and so many other quarterbacks to sign new deals this year, although it could be argued we might be talking about $1 million or so per season more.

It is not the end of the world for the Cowboys’ 2019 season if the club and Prescott fail to reach a deal and he plays out the final year of his rookie contract at about $2 million this season. In that case, the worst thing that could happen for the Cowboys’ payroll would be the best thing that could happen for the Cowboys’ playoff record in a long, long time.

Cowboys Rumors: Amari Cooper Dealing with Plantar Fascia Foot Injury - Megan Armstrong, Bleacher Report

Lost in all the bluster around Dak Prescott is the fact that star wide receiver Amari Cooper hasn’t been practicing because of an injury. While it isn’t thought to be serious, some details are slowly emerging.

Cooper’s injury had been described as a bruised heel. However, also on Tuesday, DallasCowboys.com’s Mickey Spagnola described Cooper to be dealing with “more of a ligament thing” while speaking on 105.3 The FAN to Roy White III and Shan Shariff.

On Monday, head coach Jason Garrett gave reporters an update on Cooper.

”Day-by-day,” he said. “He’s making progress, and we’re certainly not gonna rush him back. ... He’s getting closer and closer. He’s working on the side. So, we don’t think this is a long-term thing, but we just want to be deliberate in bringing him back.”

Why the Cowboys shouldn’t pay Ezekiel Elliott long-term, guaranteed money - Jared Dubin, CBS Sports

While Dak and Amari are plodding along in their own contract talks, Ezekiel Elliott is still absent from training camp because of his. Jared Dubin of CBS Sports broke down why he thinks that Zeke’s positional value should decide whether or not he gets paid.

Running backs have also been shown to generally be more replaceable than players at other positions. This has even been true of the Cowboys. In 2017, Elliott was suspended six games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. In the six games he missed, backups Alfred Morris and Rod Smith combined to average 27 touches per game, which they used to create 129 total yards and just over one touchdown per game. In the 10 games he played, Elliott averaged ... 27 touches per game, which he used to create 125 yards and just south of one touchdown per game.

While it’s true that Dak Prescott struggled during the six games where Elliott was suspended, the reality is not quite that clean. For example, Tyron Smith missed the first two of those six games, but played the final four. And Prescott’s performance was markedly different when the star left tackle was in the lineup.

Prescott was running for his life during the two games where Chaz Green and Byron Bell filled in for Smith, and it had a dramatic effect on his performance. When Smith returned, Prescott went back to something approximating his usual self. An 88.8 passer rating is not good, per se, but it was better than the league average rating in 2017, and far better than what Prescott did when Elliott and Smith were both absent. Oh, and in the two other games (one and a quarter, really) where Prescott has played without Elliott, he went 31 of 52 for 424 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. That’s equivalent to a 111.4 passer rating. Notably, Smith played in both of those games.

Why the Cowboys should make Ezekiel Elliott the highest paid RB in NFL history - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

While Jared Dubin broke down the argument against paying Ezekiel Elliott a huge contract, Patrik Walker argued the opposite and countered the idea of positional value by looking at the Cowboys’ style of offense.

Yes, theoretically speaking, running backs are less valuable than say, a quarterback or a wide receiver. It is a pass-happy league now, obviously, but the problem is one size doesn’t fit all. The Cowboys are most definitely the exception to the rule, because they’re designed as a run-first offense whose goal is to wear opponents down with time of possession.

As a matter of fact, they’re still running a playbook that includes plays from Ernie Zampese -- the team’s offensive coordinator from 1994-1997 whom current head coach Jason Garrett studied under as backup QB at the time. You can expect more misdirection and trickery from newly-promoted offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, but the playbook and the offensive schemes remain the same, and that means having a halfback that isn’t simply a generational talent, but also a potential Hall of Famer in the making.

Thanks to Elliott, the Cowboys have been able to win games at what they want to do, which is to keep the time of possession in their favor. That offensive plan often bleeds over into the success of the defense, keeping them fresh later in games as opposed to the contrary. In 2016 and 2018, when Elliott was on the field for the entire season, the Cowboys ranked second and fifth in time of possession, respectively, and it’s no coincidence they won the NFC East in both of those seasons.

Elliott played in only 10 games in 2017, and the Cowboys missed the playoffs.

Cowboys’ Quinn disagrees with ban, moving on - Todd Archer, ESPN

Word broke last week that Robert Quinn was going to serve a two game suspension to start the 2019 season, and while his agent strongly disagreed with the decision, Quinn seems to be ready to just move on now.

“I mean the data kind of proves itself, and at this point it ain’t going to change nothing,” Quinn said. “What’s going to happen is going to happen and just got to look forward to what I can do.”

Quinn’s agent, Sean Kiernan, released a lengthy statement when the suspension was announced on Aug. 8, defending his client. Kiernan said Quinn’s preventative anti-seizure medication was contaminated with a substance that has been classified as a masking agent.

Quinn made his case to an independent arbitrator selected by the NFL and NFL Players Association. Under league rules, because of the PED violation, Quinn is not eligible to play in the Pro Bowl.

”As my agent said, it should have recorded as a false positive, and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Quinn said.