Standing in the locker room with a white cowboy hat on, courtesy of Stetson not Gucci, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was the picture image of the viral hit song “Old Town Road.”
And “you can’t tell him nothing” about his improved game and looming contract extension that seems to be increasing with each passing day.
The new deal signed by Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, worth $32 million annually in new money, was not lost on Prescott.
While that deal could impact his negotiations with the Cowboys, as the team is analyzing all 60 pages of Wentz’s new contract, per source, know that Todd France and CAA have broached a deal in the range of $34 million annually, according to someone with knowledge of the talks.
Now, these are negotiations, and it’s the agent’s job to ask for the moon with hopes of landing on the stars.
“Yeah, I’m involved. It’s about me,” said Prescott when asked about the status of the contract talks after minicamp on Thursday. “But they stand where they stand.”
There is no worry or concern on his part because the former 2016 fourth-round pick, who is the final year of a rookie deal that will pay him $2.025 million this year, knows generational money is coming.
The Cowboys have made it clear they view him as their franchise quarterback and want to secure his future before the start of the season.
“It happens when it happens,” Prescott said. “I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy. Let’s say that.”
He might have as well quoted the hook from Lil Nas’ hit song and just said, “I’m going to take my horse to the old town road; I’m gonna ride ‘til I can’t no more.”
While there remains chatter nationally and among Cowboys fans about Prescott’s status as one of the league’s top quarterbacks and whether he deserves to be paid in the same neighborhood as Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger or even Wentz, who was the second overall pick in the same 2016 draft where the Cowboys snapped up Prescott, no one in and around the Cowboys questions his play or his status as the face of the franchise.
Cowboys Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin called Prescott the perfect quarterback for the Cowboys and the right fit, respectively, because of how he handles himself on and off the field and his stellar play on it, given that he has won 32 games the past three years, including two NFC East titles and made two trips to the Pro Bowl.
Irvin said the Cowboys should not wait any longer on a new deal because the price is only going to go up.
“When you have the heart and soul and leader of your team at the quarterback position, I don’t know why we’re talking about his money,” Irvin said. “That’s worth $15 million to $20 million, by itself, a year. Now you got to pay him to play football also.
“I mean, let’s be real here. It shouldn’t even be a discussion when we talk about it, and the amount of wins this man has had, and the way he’s won football games, it shouldn’t even be a discussion. It really shouldn’t.’‘
Said a smiling Prescott, “I might need to hire Mike as my agent.”
Earlier this week, quarterback coach Jon Kitna called Prescott a rare individual who is relentless in wanting to be great.
Coach Jason Garrett expanded on what is most impressive about Prescott on the final day of minicamp Thursday.
“Just that how he handles it all,” Garrett said. “How he handles success, how he handles adversity and how he handles all the different situations that he’s in. He comes to work every day and he’s got an incredible spirit. His eyes are always bright, he’s got a bounce in his step, his shoulders are back, he’s got a smile on his face regardless of what the results have been.
“He’s ready to work and ready to set the pace for everybody,” Garrett continued. “He leads by example, completely engaged, completely locked in every situation we put him in. He loves playing ball, he loves the role that he’s in and guys respond to him and it’s been that way right from the start.”
That Prescott was involved in a skirmish with safety Jeff Heath in practice Wednesday only endeared himself to more to the Cowboys because it was another example of his competitive spirit.
“Yeah, he’s just a natural competitor,” Garrett said. “He’s just one of those guys from day one who’s stepped in and competed with all the other guys, whether it’s in practice, in the offseason program and certainly on Sundays. So that’s probably line one for him. He’s got great leadership skills, but he loves to play and competes as hard and as well as anybody we’ve been around.”
What has stood out about most Prescott during OTAs and the minicamp, as the Cowboys take a month off before reporting to training camp July 27, is his improved play manifested by increased confident, comfort accuracy and decision making that was on full display.
Tight end Jason Witten was with Prescott his first two years in the league before retiring to become an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
He has noticed a new and improved Prescott.
“He’s always been a great leader and how he’s gone about it, but he sets the tone for this football team and you can see the improvement,” Witten said. “I know I can, from being away for a year, with how much he’s improved with his game as a quarterback.
“I just think, from my perspective, the accuracy has been unbelievable with throwing to us. The velocity on the ball, the anticipation of the throws. We run certain routes and nobody notices it, but that ball is coming out — when you’re coming out of the cut, the ball is already on you.”
Prescott readily acknowledges this is his best-extended stretch of football. He says the light came on for him to during their final stretch last season when the Cowboys won seven of the last nine games to rebound from a 3-4 start and win the NFC East. It has continued through the offseason.
Prescott said he has improved his footwork the most this offseason. That a direct result of the addition of Kitna, who is known a technician when it comes to quarterback footwork.
“Footwork has definitely gotten a lot better, and when your footwork gets a lot better, that allows the whole physical standpoint of throwing the ball to feel better and to be more confident in doing that,” Prescott said. “So I’d start there. But as I said, just having three years under my belt and seeing the game the way that I do now, seeing it from the moment I break the huddle, the defense trying to get lined up and having a great idea of what they’re going to do. That’s been one of the biggest standouts I can say mentally is just seeing that — seeing things a whole lot clearer.”
He is seeing everything crystal clear, on and off the field.
And again, you can’t tell him nothing about his game or his contract situation.
He knows he’s going to be a rich Cowboy soon.