Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on Dak Prescott's Watson-Sized Contract With the Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is now a very, very wealthy man, signing a deal that exceeds Deshaun Watson's.
Dak Prescott is now a very, very wealthy man, signing a deal that exceeds Deshaun Watson's. Photo by Eric Sauseda
If we remove proper names from the headline, and just go with descriptions and pronouns, this headline would have gotten Houstonians very excited — Texas-based NFL quarterback commits to his team long term! Houstonians would wake up, read that, and think that somehow cooler heads prevailed in the Deshaun Watson saga, that Watson put his weapons down and the Texans did or said whatever needed to be done or said to placate their franchise quarterback.

Alas, the starting contest between Watson and the Texans continues, excruciatingly so. The Texas-based quarterback that wakes up this morning refreshed, emotionally and financially, is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who was able to avoid a second straight season on the franchise tag at the eleventh hour, and ink the second largest deal in NFL history, a four year, $160 million extension that includes a record setting $66 million contract.

So now the Cowboys can get back to their project of getting to a Super Bowl, an endeavor that was put on a one year hiatus with Prescott's gruesome season ending leg injury in 2020. They should be the easy favorites to win the NFC East, and armed with about $15 million in extra cap space thanks to the structure of Prescott's new deal, they should be able to nab at least one impactful free agent next week.

For now, here are a few other thoughts on Prescott's deal, including one that ties to the Houston Texans:

Patrick Mahomes is still viewed as untouchable
For years and years, the modus operandi of the NFL had been to make the next quarterback in need of a contract extension, as long as they merely cleared the bar of "above average starter," the highest paid quarterback in football. That's gone out the window now with Patrick Mahomes record-setting ten-year, half a BILLION dollar deal last year. No agent has the balls to ask for their client to exceed Mahomes, who is on another planet among the young generation of signal callers. Deshaun Watson didn't exceed Mahomes deal. Prescott didn't either. Don't expect Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson to either when their time comes in the next year or so.

Prescott will make the most money in one year in NFL history in 2021
That said, Prescott didn't do so badly, netting the biggest signing bonus in the history of the league....
It just goes to show you that there are many way to skin a cat, as Mahomes' signing bonus doesn't show up on the above list, but his deal is still in a different stratosphere by itself. Speaking of signing bonuses....

That signing bonus amount highlights an important juxtaposition to Deshaun Watson's deal
While Prescott is getting a $66 million signing bonus, and will make $75 million in 2021 on his W-2 from the Cowboys, we are reminded that Deshaun Watson's signing bonus was a mere $27 million. What does that mean for Watson's current situation? It means it actually makes it easier for the Texans to trade him, as the dead money on the paid-out signing bonus will result in a cap hit of "only" $21.6 million. Now, I doubt the Texans structured this deal so that it would be easier to trade Watson just several months after signing it, but I feel like there's like a 20 percent chance that Jack Easterby will spin it that way. Which reminds us....

So, does Prescott ask for a trade four months from now?
.... of the absurd world we are left with as football fans in Houston right now. The drama continues over on Kirby. Stay tuned!

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast