Cowboys would use exclusive tag on Dak Prescott if no deal reached and let Byron Jones walk, per report

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t wavered in their belief that Dak Prescott will remain under center for “America’s Team” in 2020. On what kind of contract, however, remains to be determined. The Cowboys want to sign Prescott to a long-term extension, but it hasn’t happened just yet. The franchise tag has always been an option, but on Friday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Dallas’ backup plan would likely be the exclusive franchise tag

The non-exclusive franchise tag is worth the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years, whereas the exclusive tag is worth the average of the top five salaries for the current year. Another big reason the Cowboys would likely use the exclusive tag is because Prescott would be unable to negotiate with other teams. 

The exclusive tag for quarterbacks this offseason is estimated to be around $33 million, which is about $6 million more than the regular franchise tag. Dallas believes Prescott has earned it, as he threw for a career-high 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2019. While the Cowboys missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record, they clearly believe that Prescott is the future under center, and that new head coach Mike McCarthy will be able to get the most out of the talented quarterback.

Prescott is not the only big free agent the Cowboys have to make a decision on this offseason. On the other side of the ball, cornerback Byron Jones is poised to hit the open market, and he’s expected to become one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league. Rapoport reported on Friday that Dallas met with with Jones’ representation this week, and indicated that they are expected to let the cornerback hit free agency. 

“This is really not a surprise,” Rapoport said. “The Cowboys would like to keep all of their players. They just have a lot of other financial responsibilities here. Dak is one. Amari Cooper is another. Byron Jones is expected to be a highly paid corner and could end up as the highest-paid corner in the NFL when it’s all said and done.”

Earlier this month, Patrik Walker of CBS Sports reported that the Cowboys wouldn’t let Jones walk without at least making an offer, but that the team won’t engage in a bidding war to keep him around. The former first-round pick out of Connecticut is expected to be the top corner available in free agency, and CBS Sports contributor Joel Corry, a former agent and salary cap expert, believes Jones is likely to command $16 million per year




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