Vice president Stephen Jones threw the dawn the gauntlet for Dak Prescott last week when he acknowledged that a huge payday was coming for the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.
His hope is for Prescott to just go out and have an MVP season.
Considering that Prescott’s 2018 base salary of $630,000 is 66th among quarterbacks in the league, a pay raise would seem to be a huge motivation.
But Prescott, who joined the team as a fourth-round pick in 2016 before retiring all-time leading passer Tony Romo and earning 32 starts over the past two seasons, knows he can earn a contract extension after the season.
He said he is concerned about the money. If he plays well, he knows that is coming.
His goals and focus are much higher. He wants to be the best quarterback the Cowboys have ever had.
That means not only topping Romo but Hall of Famers Troy Aikman Roger Staubach as well.
"I want to be the best I can," Prescott said Wednesday from the team's annual Reliant Home Run Derby to benefit the Salvation Army at the Dr. Pepper Ball Park in Frisco. "I want to be the best quarterback that the Cowboys ever had. So when I go in each and every day, it's just about being the best player I can be. All that stuff comes when you play the game well."
Coach Jason Garrett is not surprised by Prescott’s attitude and approach. He said he been same since joined the Cowboys as a rookie.
"I don't think it's a good idea for anybody to ever think about their contract when they're playing," Garrett said. "You want to approach the game as a professional and strive to be your best every day. That's what we try to instill in our guys regardless of what the business side of football is. You really don't have to tell Dak that. That's what he's all about. That's part of how he approaches it every day since the minute he got here."
The money is still startling, considering that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan recently agreed to a five-year, $150 million contract extension, with $100 million guaranteed, to lead top quarterback earners. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is expected to top that soon.
Prescott, who is 22-10 as a starter, is not in their class, but the Cowboys are hoping it’s just a matter of time. They already have re-signed themselves to paying the money because it comes with the territory of having a franchise quarterback.
“Yeah, you know at that position, it kind of is what it is,” Jones said last week Wednesday at the team’s annual golf tournament. “You kind of, when the time comes, [expect to pay him]. I know Dak is going to have a good year this year. I hope it’s up there. It’s going to be as he deserves. He was a fourth-round pick. No one deserves to get paid fairly more than he does.”
The Cowboys' offseason has been about trying to help him reach his potential and help him bounce back from down 2017 season after a 2016 season that was arguably the best of any rookie quarterback in league history.
The Cowboys have focused on making the offense “Dak-friendly”, though he said it’s not about him but the entire offense.
“I don’t know… it’s a misnomer,” Prescott said. “It’s not really Dak-friendly. It’s Cowboys-friendly. We just want the right type of guys ready to work and come here and get better. I don’t really know what Dak-friendly means.”
Prescott is already adjusting to life with former No. 1 receiver Dez Bryant. And he likes the work he is getting so far with free-agent additions Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson.
"It’s great. We’ve got a lot of guys coming here ready to work,” Prescott said. “Whether we’re on the field together or just us out there running routes, we’re getting better.”