Dak Prescott contract details: Cowboys ‘locked and loaded’ with QB, but Jerry Jones says no extension is coming

Could 2024 be Dak Prescott’s last season in a Cowboys uniform?

Prescott is the NFL’s longest-tenured quarterback with one team, having been with Dallas since 2016, but he’s entering a pivotal year for his future with his contract set to expire in 2024. It now seems more likely than ever that Prescott could enter the season with his long-term plans up in the air.

The Cowboys and Prescott have “a mutual understanding of his contract situation, with no offers from Dallas,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, setting the stage for the 30-year-old QB to potentially play out the final year of his deal.

Despite the uncertainty, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems content with Prescott as his quarterback. “I think there are a handful or more of quarterbacks playing who haven’t won a Super Bowl that will win a Super Bowl. I think Dak is one of them. I’m firm there,” Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Monday.

While Prescott might be in the Cowboys’ long-term plans, Jones said Tuesday that Dallas is “locked and loaded” for 2024, indicating no more major moves are coming.

Here’s a closer look at Prescott’s contract situation and what could come next for the Cowboys quarterback.

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Dak Prescott contract

Prescott’s contract is the primary reason the Cowboys had a quiet free agency period, along with the upcoming long-term deal CeeDee Lamb will assuredly receive.

While Prescott isn’t under contract beyond 2024, his cap hit is set to jump from $26.8 million in 2023 to $55.5 million in 2024. That limits Dallas’ financial flexibility, something Jones would like to avoid with Prescott’s next deal if he does indeed sign it with the Cowboys.

Prescott originally re-signed with the Cowboys on a four-year, $160 million deal in 2021. He played out the first three years as expected, but 2024 comes with a backloaded cap hit. The Cowboys also wouldn’t be able to simply wipe their hands clean of Prescott even if he left in free agency in 2025. Thanks to the way his contract is structured, Dallas would still be on the hook for a $40.4 million dead cap hit afterward. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter at least hinted that Prescott hitting free agency is on the table, telling “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday that “if and when he becomes a free agent next year, Dallas may want him back, but there might be a quarterback-needy team” who offers him something the Cowboys simply don’t feel comfortable matchup just like the Falcons did with Kirk Cousins.

Prescott’s contract prevents him from being franchise-tagged after 2024, so he can become a free agent if he chooses.

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Dak Prescott stats

Season Starts CMP% Yards TD INT
2016 16 67.8 3,667 23 4
2017 16 62.9 3,324 22 13
2018 16 67.7 3,885 22 8
2019 16 65.1 4,902 30 11
2020 5 68.0 1,856 9 4
2021 16 68.8 4,449 37 10
2022 12 66.2 2,860 23 15
2023 17 69.5 4,516 36 9
Total 114 67.0 29,459 202 74

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Dak Prescott playoff record

While Prescott has enjoyed plenty of regular-season success, he still hasn’t won a game outside of the wild-card round in the playoffs. Prescott is 2-5 in the playoffs, with his only victories coming against the Seahawks in 2018 and the Buccaneers in 2022.

Prescott was set up well for playoff success this past season after the Cowboys secured the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but Dallas flamed out against the Packers in the wild-card round. Defense was more of a problem than offense for the Cowboys, with Prescott throwing for 403 yards, though much of the offense’s production came in garbage time. Prescott was also intercepted twice in the loss, including a costly pick-six. 

Prescott’s career playoff passer rating of 91.8 is decisively lower than his regular season passer rating of 99.0, and his interception rate of 2.5 percent in the playoffs is higher than his regular season rate of 1.9 percent.

Highest-paid NFL quarterbacks

Prescott’s $40 million average annual salary leaves him tied as the 10th-highest paid quarterback in the NFL. 

Rank Player AAV
1 Joe Burrow $55 million
2 Patrick Mahomes $52.65 million
3 Justin Herbert $52.5 million
4 Lamar Jackson $52 million
5 Jalen Hurts $51 million
6 Kyler Murray $46.1 million
7 Deshaun Watson $46 million
8 Kirk Cousins $45 million
9 Josh Allen $43 million
10 Dak Prescott $40 million
  Daniel Jones $40 million
  Matthew Stafford $40 million

The Cowboys find themselves without much leverage in negotiations with Prescott because the 30-year-old has a legitimate case to be paid much more than $40 million per year.

On one hand, Prescott finished second in MVP voting in 2023 and would be given a massive deal in free agency if only because so many teams are desperate for stability at the quarterback position. On the other hand, Dallas might have real concerns about Prescott’s ceiling and history of playoff flameouts.

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It’s the same dilemma the Dolphins could face with Tua Tagovailoa, who might not be in the upper echelon of quarterbacks but could feel he’s earned a deal that rivals some of the NFL’s best at the position because franchise quarterbacks are so hard to find. 

While Jones sings the praises of Prescott, the franchise seems to be firmly in wait-and-see mode with its quarterback. Prescott also has the ability to remain in wait-and-see mode with the organization, given he can hit free agency regardless in less than a year.

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