It’s has been a slow couple of weeks by the new-age standards of the NFL offseason — but that changed Monday evening when news broke of a new contract for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, finally ending what had been a multi-year contract dispute.
Prescott signed with the Cowboys on a four-year deal worth $160 million, including $124 million guaranteed ($95 million fully guaranteed) and a $66 million signing bonus. Prescott’s contract includes both a no-trade clause and a no-franchise tag contract provision.
Prescott waited until the Cowboys would meet what he believed to be his value, which continued to rise as other quarterbacks signed new contracts. Up against another franchise tag deadline, the Cowboys could not afford to tag Prescott again; they simply needed the cap room. They also could not afford to lose Prescott, who most analysts would agree is a top-10 quarterback in the NFL.
With Prescott’s signing, the Kansas City connection to the news of the week lies in the mega-contract signed last July by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes agreed to a 10-year extension (12 years in total) worth $500 million, including $477 million in guarantee mechanisms and $141 million in guaranteed money (more on Mahomes’ deal from our John Dixon).
As is natural whenever a quarterback signs a new deal in the NFL, comparisons are already being drawn. While Prescott’s guaranteed money ($126 million) is less than Mahomes’ ($141 million), Prescott’s contract is over four years. Prescott will make $40 million a year to Mahomes’ $45 million — but again, Prescott’s contract is over four years.
Over those four years, Prescott will make $29.3 million more than Mahomes and become a free agent in 2024. That’s when the NFL signs a new television contract, which is expected to produce more revenue for the league and thus create higher player salaries. Mahomes, meanwhile, will have seven years left on his contract.
The reason the Chiefs were able to put themselves in such an outstanding position with Mahomes is that between the player and the organization — the Hunt family, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach and his team — they had the secret sauce the Cowboys never had: good faith between the two sides.
The Chiefs knew they always wanted Mahomes — and Mahomes knew he always wanted the Chiefs. Under Reid’s guidance, Mahomes had the desire to stay in Kansas City, while allowing the team room to surround him with pieces to win. With good faith, he committed to the length of essentially a 12-year contract, likely believing that the team would do him right in the event of substantially increased revenue. The deal also includes a natural point to restructure — 2027, when his cap hit stands to be just under $60 million.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, delayed coming to an agreement for two years as Prescott continued to play well. The clincher for complete loss of leverage was when Prescott was injured for the season after five games in which he threw for 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns.
Many would agree that Mahomes is the league’s best player at sports’ most important position. Over the next four seasons, another player will make more money.
This is what we were talking about when we described the half-a-billion-dollar discount.