Cowboys’ Dak Prescott ‘not necessarily trying to be the highest paid’; discusses the possibility of leaving Dallas

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DALLAS, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys’ 2024 offseason has been different from previous offseasons for a variety of reasons.

For the first time in their streak of three straight 12-win seasons, Dallas was humiliated in the playoffs with a 48-32 loss to the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers. The previous two years ended with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Another cause for the different vibe around the Cowboys this time of year was of course the change in owner and general manager Jerry Jones saying Dallas would be “all in” and then say that they will “do it with less” after letting many starters enter free agency and mostly re-signing their own depth players. 32-year-old veteran linebacker Erick Kendricks signing a one-year deal is the crown jewel of the Cowboys’ 2024 offseason.

Much of the blame goes to the Cowboys spending $13.7 million in free agency, just under $20 million less than the next cheapest team – the New Orleans Saints (32 .2 million) – according to OverTheCap.com, is their inability to secure 2023 All-Pro second-team quarterback Dak Prescott and 2023 All-Pro first-team wide receiver CeeDee Lamb have signed new agreements again to showcase their successes. The inability to do so and the resulting inactivity surprised even Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman.

“It would probably be fair,” Aikman said Friday at the Children’s Cancer Fund’s “A Knight to Remember” gala when asked if he was surprised by the Cowboys’ inactivity this offseason. “I thought they would have taken care of Dak by now. You’re following him more closely than I am. I don’t know what the game plan is. I know everyone has concluded a lot on Jerry’s comments in Mobile about being all in and what that might look like, so I think that surprised a lot of people. … I think there’s a lot of scrutiny every offseason with every team as to what they’re doing or what they haven’t done or what they’ve done that everyone thinks is so good. Sometimes this all goes well in the fall, sometimes it doesn’t. This is what this team will be judged on. … It’s going to be judged on what they do in the regular season and, more importantly, what they do in the playoffs next year. »

Aikman acknowledged that he felt the 2023 Cowboys, who won the NFC East and were the second seed in the conference, were capable of achieving much more than them.

“Maybe a little bit from the Cowboys fans that I meet,” Aikman said when asked if he thought the disappointment from the playoff loss to the Packers lingers more than the Cowboys’ playoff disappointments. previous years. “Obviously there was a lot of frustration with how last year ended and no one was more frustrated than the team itself. No one expected that. No one cares about what I do, but I haven’t planned a trip. [at that time] because I was planning to go to San Francisco for the [NFC] championship match. That’s how convinced I was that this team was going to do something. This was a team that felt good all year. …Unfortunately for a team that has won so many games is that they just didn’t play their best football when the games mattered most and when you don’t do that, you fail, and that’s what that happened to them. “

Dak Prescott focused on living ‘in the now’

The Cowboys’ mantra of “do with less” this offseason will likely make life more difficult for Prescott, but he remains confident that Dallas can remove several contributors from the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

“I’m just focusing on the guys that we have. I know we have a lot of good guys, a lot of good guys coming back into this locker room,” Prescott said Friday at the same event when asked about Dallas’ inactive offseason. . “I say good, but I mean great, and young guys who are good taking the next step. So obviously I have confidence in these guys who have always done well in the draft and bringing in guys. I hope it makes a big impact I think right now for me it’s just about focusing on the locker room and getting to those guys, I don’t control that side. and making these moves, so I’m not going to think too much about it, the anxiety, what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. More about how I can invest in the guys and make sure they get better and stick with it. responsible for doing the same.

As for his contractual future, which will affect Dallas’ salary cap management for years to come in one way or another, it is currently up in the air as negotiations between him and Jones are currently on pause.

“Honestly, I’m focused on right now,” Prescott said when asked if his deal should be done by the start of the 2024 season. “If the talks start and real discussions take place, we can definitely talk about it. But in this case, honestly, I’m just worried about getting better, being better tomorrow than I am right now.” So I’ll leave that to my agent and Jerry at this point. stage, and when these discussions begin, I will obviously be more involved. “

Prescott said the two sides have had contract negotiations this offseason, but there’s nothing imminent at this time.

“I’ve talked to Jerry and so I understand where we’re at obviously,” Prescott said. “Jerry mentioned the same thing. There’s no gray area in that sense. We had a great conversation about where we are right now, and we’ll address the rest as it happens. gone happen.”

His leading receiver CeeDee Lamb, who led the NFL with 135 catches and set the Cowboys’ single-season records for catches and receiving yards (1,749) at age 24 last season, also starts the final year of his current contract as Prescott. Unlike the Dallas quarterback, Lamb is I am currently skipping voluntary off-season training.but that won’t stop the two from working together this offseason.

“Yeah, for sure, we’re going to work,” Prescott said. “I’ve been in communication with CeeDee. He’s there. We’re going to work and if he’s the one coming into the facility, maybe a deal will be made. If not, I guarantee we will still find plenty of time to make sure we are doing the work we feel comfortable with.

Every recent new quarterback contract — Jalen Hurts’ (five years, $255 million), Lamar Jackson’s (five years, $260 million), Justin Herbert’s (five years, $262.5 million) dollars) and that of Joe Burrow (five years, $275 million) – became the NFL’s largest contract of all time in terms of average annual salary. How teams structure these deals varies, however, and Prescott will be flexible in this structural area of ​​his contract negotiations.

“I’m not necessarily trying to be the highest paid,” Prescott said. “I’ll wait until the negotiations start. I obviously want to put this team in the best situation. My focus is here, right now, where I am. That’s always how I’ve been. Every time you ask me, it’s I’ve always been on the verge of getting better tomorrow, and I’ve been in this situation before, so I feel good about any situation at this point, whether I’m betting on myself or that I play this year.

Ideally, the Louisiana native who grew up a Cowboys fan and supported Tony Romo, whom he succeeded as Dallas’ quarterback, would like to stay with the franchise long-term. However, he will accept a future of football with a different team if a deal cannot be reached by next offseason. Prescott controls leverage in negotiations as he has a clause prohibiting him from being franchise-tagged again as well as a no-trade clause.

“I love this game, I love playing and I love getting better as a player and my teammates around me,” Prescott said. “Right now, it’s with the Dallas Cowboys. That’s where I want to be, and that’s where I am. That’s the goal. After the season, we’ll see where we are and if the future holds it for us. [staying with the Cowboys long term]. “Otherwise, we’ll go from there.”



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