The Dallas Cowboys’ season may be over, but team owner and overall decision-maker Jerry Jones still has a lot to say about his franchise, including his injured quarterback Dak Prescott.
During his weekly appearance on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan, Jones talked about the contract status of Prescott going into the offseason, what leverage the Cowboys may have in negotiations, and the “world record” attendance at AT&T Stadium this season.
Jones says Prescott has leverage in negotiations
When Jones was asked about Prescott’s position in negotiations for a long-term contract extension, he showered Prescott with praise (which he’s been doing all season) and acknowledged that Prescott has a lot of leverage over the Cowboys.
"I don't know how you could have any more leverage. ... His evolving into an NFL quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture. He has great ability, in my mind, to win games. He's talented. He certainly has the experiences and he has all the things, which has been substantiated by what we've offered Dak. You wouldn't offer Dak what we offered in the past if you'd not thought he was very special. The issue is how do you come together? And that's no stranger to me. I've been doing it all my life, putting things together. We've got to get it together.”
Prescott may have suffered a catastrophic ankle injury early in the season, but his position as a top-tier quarterback gives him a lot of leverage over the Cowboys. They can’t find a better option than Prescott on the open market, and quarterbacks like him aren’t typically available via trade (Carson Wentz not withstanding). The Cowboys can pay Dak or they can get worse, those are their two options.
Do the Cowboys have any leverage?
Prescott and the Cowboys have reportedly differed on the length of the contract, with the Cowboys wanting a five-year deal and Prescott willing to do only four. The Cowboys’ options are limited, but they may get that five-year deal.
The salary cap is expected to drop next season due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the league’s bottom line, which means Dallas has less money to play with than usual. Signing Prescott is a big priority, but so is building a better team around him. Jones says that a longer term deal gives the Cowboys more flexibility to do that.
"We have a certain amount, period, that can be paid to players every year. It's a very competitive thing and the longer the term, the more flexibility you've got in any numbers that you have in a contract. The planning ahead, the looking at what you can spend, what you can give on any other free agents, that's your overall planning. ... We’ve got to pay additional defense this year, and any dollar that goes there doesn’t go towards another player. That’s how simple it is.”
Jones brags about pandemic attendance
The pandemic is providing the Cowboys with a little leverage in their contract talks with Prescott, but it has also given Jones the opportunity to brag. AT&T Stadium was one of just a few NFL stadiums that hosted fans for every home game this season, and it also hosted the most fans by far.
The Cowboys averaged over 27,000 fans per game, more than 10,000 more than the second place team. They averaged over 30,000 fans per game in the second half of the season, a period when some teams began reducing or eliminating fans at home games due to increasing pandemic figures. Overall, 219,021 fans went to Cowboys home games this season, over 90,000 more than the second place team.
Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he’s quite proud of that “achievement.”
"I’m going to arm wave. I think we set the world record for attendance for a venue this year at our stadium in the world of pandemic,” Jones said. “And the results were extremely safe, maybe at the top with much less attendance."
Hopefully someone tells Jones there isn’t actually a world record for pandemic attendance. Considering that public safety was the reason numerous teams didn’t have fans at home games this season, this probably isn’t a “record” he should brag about achieving.
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