Dallas Cowboys

Why Stephen Jones wants to pay Cowboys QB Dak Prescott now and not wait until next year

Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to a contract extension is the team’s biggest priority of the off-season for obvious reasons.

He is an unrestricted free agent and someone they desperately want to keep.

But not far behind Lawrence in the pecking order for contract extensions is quarterback Dak Prescott, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal.

Prescott, who is due to make $2.045 million next year and is currently the 17th highest paid Cowboys player, has clearly outplayed his contract as a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Jones said the Cowboys could wait until next year but acknowledged that Prescott is deserving of a new deal now. And it’s the right thing for the Cowboys to do.

“You look at a quarterback who has had the success he’s had. He’s started since Day 1, he’s a fourth-round draft pick,” Jones said between competition committee meetings preceding this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “You can imagine, I’m sure what Dak is thinking too. He’s the leader of the football team, as most quarterbacks are. He’s done everything the right way, and I think he deserves to have his contract looked at in a very progressive way.”

When Jones says “progressive,” he means giving Prescott market value quarterback money between $25-30 million annually.

Prescott made $450,000, $540,000 and $630,000 in each of the last three years in which he started every game for the Cowboys, won rookie of the year in 2016 and made the Pro Bowl twice.

The Cowboys are all in Prescott as the long-term answer at quarterback. So Jones said there is no reason to wait.

“I just think it’s the right time to look at it,” Jones said. “He is in the last year of his contract. We have always said we would like to look at players, especially guys we think have long-term futures with us and we are sure of that. And the last year of your contract you would like to extend.

“It makes sense. We will have to see. Go to work and see what happens.”

Prescott began preparing for a new deal last off-season when he left his first agent Jeff Guerriero of ProSource Sports for Todd France and the mega talent conglomerate known as Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.