Dallas Cowboys

With new contract imminent and price rising, Dak Prescott fashions career-best outing

‘He was confident, he was calm, but that’s Dak. Always has been.’ Travis Frederick on Dak’s Day

Dallas Cowboys captain and center Travis Frederick said Dak Prescott was as calm and confident as he's ever been during Sunday's 35-17 win over the New York Giants.
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Dallas Cowboys captain and center Travis Frederick said Dak Prescott was as calm and confident as he's ever been during Sunday's 35-17 win over the New York Giants.

Dak Prescott has admittedly never felt more comfortable and confident playing quarterback.

Not back at tiny Haughton High School just outside Shreveport, La.

Not in college at Mississippi State and certainly not in his first three years with the Dallas Cowboys, including a breakthrough 2016 season when he fashioned the finest rookie campaign of any quarterback in NFL history.

Prescott is also not pressing.

It’s why he has yet to sign a long-term contract extension with the Cowboys, because he is betting on himself that he can get more than what they are currently offering.

Prescott is on the verge of cashing in big after what was easily the finest performance of his career in a 35-17 season-opening victory against the New Giants before 90,353 fans at AT&T Stadium.

He completed 23 of 32 passes for 405 yards and a career-high tying four touchdown passes.

Prescott spread the ball around, showed pin-point accuracy on the deep ball, crossing patterns and slants over the middle.

He and Tony Romo are the only quarterbacks in Cowboys history with 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Prescott is the fifth quarterback in NFL history to open a season with 400 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. His 405 yards were the most for a Cowboys quarterback in a season opener.

Prescott became the first quarterback in team history to have a perfect 158.3 passer rating and only the 30th quarterback in NFL history to accomplish that.

It all has owner Jerry Jones ready to take action on the contract as Prescott’s price continues to rise.

“Oh, yes, I do know that we’ll get it done,” Jones said. “It would probably be fair to say it’ll be done on a imminent basis. Imminent. Without being real clear, bright-lined. It’s not done. What’s imminent? Well, days. Days. Or something like that.”

Prescott said he was unconcerned about his contract when told of Jones’ comments.

“I’m turning the page and I’m worried about the Washington Redskins (next Sundays opponent),” Prescott said. “I have people that handle that. My focus is on this team, on the football game. I think as long as I can keep continuing to do that, this will do things like we did tonight. As I said, that’s been out of my focus for the past week, and I told you guys that.”

What he also has told reporters since mini camp is that he has felt comfortable and confident. He knows the offense better so he can anticipate throws and is more accurate.

“It’s the NFL so nothing’s easy, but it did feel like a well-oiled machine,” Prescott said. “I think I spoke to you about the latter part of last year and just being able to see the defense and see things that I wanted so much quicker. This offseason, this spring, this training camp it just continued to grow. Obviously, studying film has just allowed me to come in and do that. With your offensive line protecting and when players make plays it’s hard not to be comfortable.”

Certainly, he has more weapons than ever before and a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore with creativity in the game plan and the play-calling.

But Prescott was the one pulling the trigger and delivering strikes like never before while completing passes to seven different receivers. Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper led the way with 158 and 106 yards receiving, respectively. Cooper, Randall Cobb and tight ends Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin caught touchdowns.

“He’s just in complete command of this offense, communicating the way he wants to communicate,” Witten said. “He has the ability to make those throws. He never gets rattled. So it was the perfect storm the way we’re attacking.”

Coach Jason Garrett said Prescott’s accuracy and command has noticeably improved.

“I think some of that comes from working technically, whether it’s your footwork or your delivery. But some of it comes from playing in games and being in those situations. I thought he did that throughout the game. It was a good mix. We got different guys involved. He was seeing the defense well, throwing to the right guys. He had command of the offense.”

Prescott has command of the offense, command of his future and command of this contract extension with the Cowboys.

So he remains comfortable, but unpressed.

Per ESPN, Prescott has loss-of-value and disability insurance policies as well as multi-year endorsement deals that are valued at more than $50 million, allowing him to wait on the Cowboys to up his price.

They have already offered a deal worth than $30 million annually, putting him among the top five quarterbacks in the NFL.

He has asked for at least $34 million annually, which would top recent deals by fellow 2016 rookie quarterbacks Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams (6 years, $161 million) and Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles (4 years, $128 million).

He would get at least $33 million on the franchise tag after the season if the Cowboys were unable to sign him.

They do not plan to wait that long.

With a deal imminent, Prescott’s price might be right.

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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.