NFL team executives crave silence on the contract front once training camp begins, but that for Cowboys owners/chief football execs Jerry and Stephen Jones as they deal with the of quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The good news for Dallas is Prescott and Cooper have been in camp, and all three players are under contract. The bad news is things aren't getting any easier with Elliott and word leaking that Prescott a $30 million-per-year extension offer. So the distractions continuefor a team with .
2019 NFL PREDICTIONS:
So how will these contract i sues get resolved? Here are my predictions for all three young Cowboys stars.
Dak Prescott contract projection
Despite the apparent impa se and the wild (likely inaccurate) rumors that Prescott is asking for $40 million per year, this will be the first deal to get done. I'll be surprised if its not signed and sealed by Sept. 8, when the Cowboys host the Giants in the season-opener.
Both sides have a lot at stake. Prescott doesn't want to play this season for $2.025 million and risk an injury Nolan Ryan Jersey that could torpedo a life-altering contract. He also knows the Cowboys could slap him with the franchise tag in February, again delaying a contract that would guarantee him more than $100 million.
The Cowboys would like their starting QB to be clear of contract-related distractions as the season begins. A potentially disgruntled team leader is not what Dallas wants; that doesnt play well in the locker room.
I believe a factor in the time its taking to get a deal done is Prescott trying to play the make-up game because of his low-level rookie contract compared to his high-level production. When I was negotiating contracts as an NFL team exec, this approach never worked with me. Its about the present in terms of market value.
It won't fly with the Joneses, either. As they would say, this is not their first rodeo.
The Cowboys position is that J.R. Richard Jersey Prescott has no one to blame but himself for dropping to the fourth round due in part to his DUI arrest two months before the draft. (Unfortunately for him, his acquittal didnt come until after the draft, but the fact that he had even one beer which he admitted and was caught speeding was not a smart thing to do pre-draft.)
Prescotts camp surely believes Patrick Mahomes will hit the $40 million-per-year level in the next two years, but they really are trying to overtake current salary leader Ru sell Wilson at $35 million per year in new money ($31.4 million per year including the 2019 season).
Prescott wont quite reach Wilson, but he will eclipse Jimmy Garoppolo's$27.5 million per year and Kirk Cousins $28 million per year.
The referenced media source is mi sing and needs to be re-embedded.
My blueprint to a Prescott deal is as follows: a five-year extension for $167.5 million in new money ($33.5 million per year). His total compensation, including his $2.025 million this year, would be $169.525 million ($28.25 million per year).
That would put him over Garoppolo, Cousins and Carson Wentz; the Eagles QBreceived $32 million per year in new money under his Josh Reddick Jersey extension signed this year. Overall, Wentz will average $25.67 million per year over the next six years.
With this deal, Prescott also would surpa s Matt Ryan ($30 million per year) in new money while being basically equal in total comp since Ryan is at $28.2 million per year including the final year of his previous contract.
The $33.5 million per year in new money also is significant because it would equal Aaron Rodgers new money under his Green Bay extension signed last August. But, as is Yordan Alvarez Jersey appropriate, Prescott would fall short of Rodgers in total comp with Rodgers at $29.33 million per year.
Prescotts camp will fight for the all-important guarantee of at least two-thirds of the contract, and I expect him to receive total guarantees of $110 million an amount that would be the most ever; more than Wilson and Rodgers received, granted in shorter deals.
Prescott likely will receive a signing bonus in the $50 million range as part of that guarantee. That will raise his 2019 cap number by about $10 million, and the Cowboys can handle it since they reportedly have about $23 million in cap room remaining this year.
So the Prescott deal should get done soon with some additional incentives added if he is an MVP or Super Bowl QB. That way he can have the potential to be a little closer to Mahomes when last years MVP resets the QB market upon his extension in 2020 or 2021.
Ezekiel Elliott contract projection
I expect the Cowboys to hold the line on Zeke since he is under contract and can be fined $40,000 per day that hes absent. A solution to get him to report back to the team, though, would be to add a couple incentives to his $3.85 million base salary this season.
For example, Dallas could add another $1 million if Elliott records 1,500 yards rushing and the Cowboys are again in the playoffs. This incentive would not count against the cap as likely to be earned since he had 1,434 yards rushing last season.
When I was with the Titans in 2002, we employed a similar strategy with Jevon Kearse. The star defensive end had made the Pro Bowl with double-digit sacks in each of his first three seasons. Like Elliott does, Kearse had two years left on his rookie contract. And like Elliott has, Kearse had clearly outperformed that contract. He was threatening to hold out before we added incentives for higher sack totals with the team in the playoffs and NFL Defensive MVP. He did not achieve them due Jose Cruz Jersey to injury in 2002, but he did hit some incentives the following year.
By waiting a year to do Elliotts big deal, the Cowboys also can see if the RB can stay out of trouble off the field, which has to be a concern after his six-game suspension in 2017.
The referenced media source is mi sing and needs to be re-embedded.
Then, in the summer of 2020, I believe Dallas will extend Elliott for $60 million over four years. The $15 million per year in new money would make him the NFLs highest-paid back over Todd Gurley.
Including the $9.1 million he is scheduled to earn on the last year of his contract in 2020, Elliotts total compensation of $69.1 million for five years ($13.82 million per year) also would top LeVeon Bells $13.125 million per Hector Rondon Jersey year. The guaranteed money should be in the $45 million range (similar to Gurley), but the Cowboys will include clauses that force giveback of signing bonus and voiding of some guaranteed money in the event of any league suspensions.
Amari Cooper contract projection
This is probably the easiest of the three to resolve.
Cooper is well-paid this year at $13.924 million under his fifth-year opti