The Dallas Cowboys opened the checkbook within the past two months in order to lock in several key players ahead of the 2023 season and beyond. But with Dak Prescott's current contract nearing its end, the long-term outlook of the franchise won't be considered clear until its star quarterback has a new deal.
It's a situation Jerry Jones thinks about often, but the Cowboys owner on Tuesday indicated that it'll be a matter of when, not if, Dallas locks in Prescott for the foreseeable future.
"Those numbers on those contracts, those types of numbers, especially the big ones, you live with constantly, that's always on your mind. There's never a time when it goes away because you've got to make the entire thing fit," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "So it's on the mind on a player decision in the middle of the year. So it's just a fundamental. We expect Dak to be with us a long time."
,Prescott signed a four-year, $160 million deal ahead of the 2021 season and its final year is set to count $59.4 million against the salary cap in 2024. The 30-year-old won't be the only one eyeing a new deal come that time, however, with the QB's top target CeeDee Lamb also set to become a free agent during that offseason. Star linebacker Micah Parsons' impending pay day may also complicate the math of all possible future deals.
"We're always working around it with several machinations of numbers that would work," Jones explained on Tuesday. "It's a moving target because you don't know where you are on any given day for sure with the salary that you want to have on the books in the future, such as something you might want to be doing with a CeeDee Lamb. I know our fans need some points to start from here. Those contracts, you have to kind of assume that you're going to have in place at some number, knowing that's not going to be exact until you get it negotiated. Again, that's long-winded. But it's constantly on your mind. It's part of your makeup."
The Cowboys' busy summer included extensions for Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs, safety Malik Hooker, and most recently right tackle Terence Steele. Zack Martin's reworked contract, which ended the All-Pro guard's training camp holdout, was another important item for Jones to resolve ahead of the 2023 season.
Dallas concluded camp with a surprising trade for QB Trey Lance, which, of course, prompted whispers surrounding the team's future at the most crucial position and questions of where negotiations stand with Prescott ahead of Week 1.
Jones made it clear that he's not only willing to continue negotiations but is open to getting Prescott's deal done during the 2023 season.
"Absolutely, absolutely, at any time," Jones said. "And it may be a better time for them to get to a point where they can make a decision. We all have -- I know I do -- have times that I get up and I feel like locking something down that may be a loose end, and if I get a chance to, well, I'll do it. That should sound flexible because it is. It's a moving part. Of course, the real life situation is we deal with injury. We deal with appreciating and depreciating talent level; it goes up and down. It happens there right before your eyes. It can happen during a season. So how you start a season off is not how you end up a season with a short-term and long-term look either."