Talks between the Cowboys and Prescott’s agent, Todd France, began in the spring of 2019. The club initially hoped a deal could be consummated before training camp, then during training camp, then at the start of the season, but it never happened.
Unable to get a contract worked out before free agency, the Cowboys put the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott, knowing that July 15 is the deadline to sign him to a long-term deal.
The negotiations have generated a lot of public debate. Do the Cowboys really believe Prescott is their guy? Why won’t owner and GM Jerry Jones just pay the man? Does Prescott really think he should be the NFL’s highest paid quarterback, even after the 10-year extension worth up to $503 million Patrick Mahomes agreed to Monday with the Kansas City Chiefs?
By next week, there will be some answers. Either Prescott and the Cowboys will have their contract agreement or the quarterback will play the upcoming season on the franchise tag.
For perhaps the final time, here are some answers to some key questions regarding Prescott’s situation:
Where do negotiations stand?
It seems the sides have not had any substantive talks since March. Perhaps the coronavirus pandemic played into that because there was not the traditional offseason program. Prescott did not miss any on-field work even if he was not a part of all the virtual meetings.
Before the Mahomes news, sources said the Cowboys’ offer would make Prescott the second-highest paid quarterback in terms of average per year to Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who makes $35 million a season. That offer includes a guarantee that is on par with the $110 million the Los Angeles Rams gave Jared Goff. What is unknown are the details of the Cowboys’ offer, such as how much is guaranteed at the time of signing and how much is guaranteed for injury and cash flow.
Is the deal’s length a concern?
Yes. The Cowboys would like a five-year deal; Prescott would like four years. The reasons are pretty obvious. If the Cowboys are going to make such a commitment, they would like it for as long as possible so they are not back at the negotiating table any sooner than necessary. Prescott would like a shorter term so he can hit the open market again when the new television money is expected to kick in. That might be a bit trickier now considering the pandemic, but live sports has been a cash cow.
How does Mahomes’ deal impact the discussions?
Stephen A. Smith has faith in Dak Prescott to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl based on their revamped offense.
Truthfully, it probably doesn’t all that much. The Cowboys likely would do a 10-year deal with Prescott, but if he won’t do a five-year deal, why would he do a longer deal if the guaranteed money does not go up appreciably?
Quarterbacks are judged on wins and stats. Mahomes has both. His first two years as Kansas City’s starter are off the charts. He has taken the Chiefs to an AFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl win in his first two seasons. Prescott has one playoff win and has missed the postseason twice in his first four seasons.
Depending on how you want to read the Mahomes deal, it’s a max of $50.3 million per season, $45 million per season based on new money or $39.75 million when looking at it as a 12-year deal. You know which way France will view it and which way the Cowboys will view it.
What happens if the sides do not reach an agreement?
Prescott has to play the season on the $31.4 million tag and the sides cannot discuss a long-term deal until 2021. Essentially, this might kick the can down the road for a year before the sides get into the same prolonged dance again. The only good news is we wouldn’t have to hear and read incessant reports about negotiations until next offseason.
Could Prescott sit out?
Now that he has signed the tender, he is under contract and would face prohibitive fines if he does not report to camp. For those who believe Prescott would hold out, he played last season for $2 million, why wouldn’t he play for $31.4 million this season?
If he had not signed the tender, he would not have faced any fines for skipping training camp and preseason games (however those look starting later this month). He could have shown up the week before the season opener against the Rams.
Can the Cowboys use the tag on Prescott in 2021?
Yes, and it would cost them roughly $38 million, a 120% increase over what he makes in 2020. Washington used the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins two years in a row in 2016 and ’17, but never made him an offer as substantial as the one the Cowboys have made to Prescott.
If the Cowboys wanted to use the franchise tag on Prescott for a third year, it would cost more than $54 million.
Have the Cowboys gotten to this point with a franchise-tagged player before?
Yes, but not a quarterback. They were able to sign Troy Aikman and Tony Romo to long-term deals before either could have come close to testing the market. In the years between Aikman and Romo, they did not have a quarterback they wanted to keep long term.
In 2015, the Cowboys put the tag on receiver Dez Bryant. He spent only a handful of days around the team in the offseason because he did not sign the tender. Eventually, the Cowboys and Bryant agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal, but it nearly did not happen.
After the sides agreed, the Cowboys needed Bryant to sign the contract before sending it to the league office. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes before the deadline that Bryant made it to Valley Ranch to put pen to paper.
Tom Coughlin recovering after breaking ribs, puncturing lung in bicycle accident
Former New York Giants coach and Jacksonville Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin fractured four ribs, slightly punctured his lung and needed stitches in his head after a bicycle accident last weekend in Jacksonville that left him hospitalized for a night, he confirmed to ESPN.
Another man on a racing bike, in the words of Coughlin, “comes out of nowhere and clips the front of my bike.” Coughlin, who was Jacksonville’s first head coach and general manager, said he thought he was aware of his surroundings, until being blindsided.
Coughlin, 73, first went home before his family convinced him to go to the Baptist Health emergency room, where he underwent X-rays and a CT scan. Doctors told Coughlin he faces a four- to six-week recovery.
Coughlin was Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations until he was fired by owner Shad Khan last December, two days after the NFL Players Association warned players to be wary of signing with the franchise, citing excessive fines and player grievances.
A two-time Super Bowl winner in his 12 seasons coaching the Giants, Coughlin built the Jaguars from the ground up as its GM/coach, taking Jacksonville to the playoffs four consecutive seasons in the late 1990s and reaching the AFC Championship Game twice.
Information from ESPN’s Michael DiRocco was used in this report.
Veteran RB LeSean McCoy reaches deal with Bucs
The addition of McCoy will push Ronald Jones, who took over duties on first and second down for the Bucs last season but struggled at times in pass protection and isn’t a natural pass-catcher. McCoy also will push Dare Ogunbowale for the third-down spot.
The Bucs needed a running back who could contribute in the passing game, and McCoy has done that in previous stops. Rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was expected to contribute in this area, but he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week.
In April, McCoy told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’s not ready to retire and hoped to play two more seasons.
He got off to a strong start with 81 rushing yards in Week 1, but that would be his best effort of the season, as he finished with 465 yards and four touchdowns on 101 carries. He also caught 28 passes for 181 yards and another score.
The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro continued to play a significant role through the midseason, but McCoy fell out of favor with the coaching staff after fumbles in narrow losses to the Colts and Packers. His playing time dwindled as the season went on, and he was inactive for the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LIV.
He finished the 2019 season ranked third among active players with 11,071 career rushing yards, behind only Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson. He won the league’s rushing title in 2013 with 1,607 yards while with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns in 2011.
McCoy played under Reid with the Eagles for the first four seasons of his career, rushing for 3,866 yards from 2009 to 2012.
He had an inconsistent four seasons with the Bills. He struggled in his first, finishing with 895 yards rushing. McCoy attributed that to being unfocused as a result of being traded. McCoy responded by topping 1,100 yards rushing in each of his next two seasons, but he struggled in 2018, finishing with a career-worst 752 yards from scrimmage.
In December, McCoy reached a settlement with former girlfriend Delicia Cordon in a lawsuit that accused him of failing to protect her from a violent July 2018 home invasion at a home he owns in Milton, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. Cordon was beaten and bloodied, and $133,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from the home.
Cordon later amended the suit, saying that McCoy physically abused her and orchestrated the attack. McCoy vehemently denied the allegations.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine and Adam Teicher contributed to this report.
Jamal Adams says he’s excited to be with Seahawks, plan is to retire with franchise
Jamal Adams was overwhelmed with uncertainty last weekend, not knowing which team he’d be reporting to with NFL training camps about to open. After months of dispute with the New York Jets over his contract and speculation about potential trades, his family could see the stress on his face.
Following a long day Friday, he slept in the next morning and woke up to five missed calls from his agent, who was trying to inform him that a deal to send him to the Seattle Seahawks was in the works.
The blockbuster trade of the NFL offseason was finalized a few hours later.
“When I got the call, honestly, I broke down in tears of joy,” Adams said Thursday. “A lot of mixed emotions. I’m gonna miss a lot of the guys over there. But at the end of the day, man, this was my calling. This was where I need to be.”
If it wasn’t clear on Saturday, when the All-Pro safety took a victory lap on Twitter and danced with a cigar in his mouth on Instagram Live, it was in his introductory video conference: Adams is excited to be a Seahawk. He said as much several times in his first comments to Seattle-area media members.
The Seahawks inherited the final two years of Adams’ rookie contract, and while the massive haul of draft picks they gave up to acquire him leaves no doubt they want him around beyond that, sources have told ESPN that they don’t plan on giving him an extension in 2020.
The 24-year-old Adams initially deflected a question about his future then said he can “absolutely” see himself in Seattle long-term.
“The plan is to retire here,” he said. “This is my plan. But obviously, those things handle themselves. When all you have to do is just go on the field and perform, do the right things on and off the field, and those things will take care of itself, man. So I’m very excited to be here. I know the rest of the guys are excited to have me, and the coaching staff, and everybody else. So again, man, we’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Adams called the Seahawks’ a first-class organization, citing that as the reason he included them on his list of seven desired trade destinations when he asked out of New York last month. He called it surreal to get to play under “legendary coaches” in Seattle and alongside “Hall of Famers” like Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
The price to get him included first-round picks in each of the next two drafts plus a 2021 third-rounder and starting safety Bradley McDougald. Seattle got the Jets’ 2022 fourth-round pick in the trade along with Adams. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the fourth trade since 2018 involving multiple first-round picks for a player. The others were for edge rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. It hadn’t happened previously since 2009, with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Asked about the perception that Seattle gave up too much for a box safety, Adams said anyone familiar with his game knows he does more than just play in the box.
Adams joins a Seahawks defense that’s coming off one of its worst seasons since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider arrived in 2010. It continued a decline on that side of the ball since the heyday of the Legion of Boom. Adams expressed deference toward his predecessors in Seattle’s secondary — Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman — and said he plans to reach out to Chancellor.
The Seahawks feel Adams’ alpha personality will restore some of the edge their defense has lost since the LOB days.
“A lot of fun and juice, man, a lot of energy,” Adams, a team captain with the Jets, said of what he brings to Seattle’s locker room. “I’m a fun guy. But when it comes down to ball, we’re talking ball, and we’re gonna get down to business.”
Adams already has relationships with a few of his new teammates. He knows Wagner from their time together at the Pro Bowl and a Jordan Brand trip to Monaco, where they talked of one day teaming up. Adams called it a “cheat code” to pair the two All-Pros together and said Wagner told him his addition will take some of the attention from opposing offenses off the linebacker.
Adams goes further back with Quandre Diggs, who hosted him on his college visit to Texas. The two were in communication as the trade was in its final stages, both hoping it would go through. Adams described Diggs as being “like a brother to me” and said they’ve already been talking Xs and Os and their responsibilities as the starting safeties in Carroll’s defense.
Something else Adams is looking forward to: playing at CenturyLink Field. He said he’s pulled up video of Seahawks home games to get a sense of the crowd noise while acknowledging the uncertainty of whether fans will be allowed in the stands this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Man, can’t wait to meet the 12s! Sometime soon hopefully! Appreciate all the luv you all have showed me so far. ✊🏽
— Jamal Adams (@Prez) July 30, 2020
Adams was conciliatory when asked about the critical comments he made about the Jets shortly before the trade. Among them was his questioning of coach Adam Gase’s leadership.
“I’m focused on being a Seattle Seahawk,” he said. “I’m really, I’m at peace with it. We have to move on, and it’s part of the business. A lot of those guys and coaches reached out, and they said they’re gonna miss me and they love me, and it’s the same back. I’m pulling for those guys over there, I really am. I have no hate in my heart towards anybody. To [GM Joe Douglas] to Adam Gase, it doesn’t matter, I really wish them well. And like I said, man, I’m excited to be a Seattle Seahawk.”
Jets running back Le’Veon Bell shot back with some choice words for Adams when the trade went down. Asked Thursday on SportsCenter about Bell’s comments, Adams laughed and looked ahead to the Seahawks’ scheduled home game against the Jets in Week 14, as he did in his initial Twitter response.
“It’s nothing but love for Le’Veon, man,” Adams said on SportsCenter. “I really do wish him well. Everybody has an opinion about certain things; that’s just the nature of the beast. I had to do what was right for my family and I. And hey, man, no love lost for anybody over there. Like I said, man, due to COVID and what we’re going through with the pandemic, hopefully we can make it to Week 14, ’cause if we do, it’s gonna be a good one, man. I’ll just put it like that.”
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