Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott playing carefree; Jerry Jones says he is worth top-tier money

In his first comments since the reported $40 million annual salary demand, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had nothing to say about the money when asked by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“You know what that was,” Prescott said while walking to the bus after the Cowboys 14-10 victory against the Los Angeles Rams at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. “I ignore that.”

What Prescott did say were the same things he has said since the beginning of training camp. He is not worried about contract talks with the Cowboys and that they are not a distraction.

“It’s 100 percent not an issue,” said Prescott after completing 5 of 5 passes for 64 yards while leading the Cowboys on a 97-yard touchdown drive in his only action against the Rams. “I do this. I got people that handle that. I play football. I will continue to do that and let them handle their business.”

Prescott said there is no internal pressure to get the contract done before the start of the season. He is fine whenever it gets done.

“I don’t have a timeline on it,” Prescott said. “I don’t have a worry if it’s done tonight, done tomorrow, done in a week or during the year. It doesn’t matter.”

Prescott has certainly not played in the preseason like a player who is worried about his contract. He is now 9 of 9 passing for 87 yards on 21 plays in two preseason games. He has led the first team offense to 10 points without the services of holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott and No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper, who is nursing a bruised heel.

Prescott may not have asked for $40 million annually but there is no question he has turned down a Cowboys offer of at least $30 million.

Whatever he gets will certainly be above that and make him among the top five paid quarterbacks in the NFL.

Owner Jerry Jones said Prescott’s play in the preseason has not changed his mind on whether he is deserving to be in that number. That was never a question to him. It’s just about finding a way to make it all work.

“Again, coming up on the money is really not that issue with Dak,” Jones said. A lot of people question whether Dak is one of the guys who need to be in the top tier. I have never questioned that. That is what this is showing you. I don’t think there is any doubt that he is at the top level of paid quarterbacks. There is no question in my mind about that. Now how we make this all fit to have the best team around him, that is what we are trying to work on.”

Prescott looked the part against the Rams in not just how he directed that scoring drive but in how he took command, gave the team confidence as well as his decisiveness and accuracy.

He got the Cowboys out of a 2nd and 22 following a sack. He hit a 31-yard pass to receiver Michael Gallup and converted two third downs.

“The first thing that stood out to me was his approach with the offense in the huddle during that T.V. timeout,” tight end Jason Witten said. “He said ‘Let’s go 97 yards,’ playing it out how were going to do it. Our opening script got put back because we were backed up. Being able to adjust there. I think he knows where he wants to go with the football, mixing it around. He is just in command. He has a lot of confidence in his ability to make those throws.”

Prescott said he didn’t know how long he was going to play but the offense simply handled their business on the “huge” 97-yard drive. He said it was important to finish in the end zone.

But he also acknowledged being more comfortable and more confident in his fourth year at quarterback.

“Being comfortable,” Prescott explained. “Seeing things fast, seeing things the way I want to see them. Getting through reads as quick as I can to make the throws.”

Making the throws like a quarterback worthy of a top five deal?

Time will tell, but Prescott said he is not worried and is playing like it.

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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.