TAMPA, Fla. -- Dak Prescott isn't going anywhere.
Sources say the Dallas Cowboys will make a push to sign their quarterback to a long-term contract prior to the March 9 deadline for applying the franchise tag -- a sign they're confident in Prescott's ongoing recovery from multiple surgeries on the ankle he fractured in October.
If no deal is struck, the Cowboys would tag Prescott a second time for a cost of about $37.7 million to keep him from hitting the free-agent market, per sources.
Dallas made a similar push last season, both in March and before the July 15 deadline for signing franchise players to multi-year deals. But the sides couldn't reach an agreement and Prescott, 27, played the season on the $31.409 million tag.
Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle Oct. 11 in a win over the New York Giants, leaving the field on a cart and in tears. He underwent surgery that night, during which doctors' primary concern was preventing infection, and they did so successfully.
Sources say Prescott underwent a second -- and previously unreported -- procedure on the ankle about two months later to strengthen his deltoid ligament, clean out the ankle and make it more structurally sound. That procedure wasn't directly related to the October surgery; rather, doctors then spotted issues related to past injuries to the same ankle, and so once the risk of infection was eliminated, they went back in to clean up the rest.
After the second surgery in early December, Prescott had to take about a week off from rehab to let the wound heal, but it improved the stability and integrity of the ankle and should accelerate his overall recovery, per sources. He's now walking without issue, doing weight-bearing exercises and is expected to be ready for action long before the 2021 season begins.
That's one reason there are no medical concerns, sources say, for the Cowboys with regard to offering Prescott a nine-figure contract that would put him among the NFL's highest-paid players. If anything, Prescott is considered a little ahead of schedule in what was initially pegged as a four- to six-month recovery.
Doing a long-term deal now would help the Cowboys from a salary cap perspective at a time NFL teams are bracing for the cap to decrease in 2021, since they could spread the signing bonus over multiple years instead of carrying the entire $37,690,800 tag on their cap for months in hopes of doing a deal in July.
Whether Prescott is motivated to do a deal early after betting on himself with essentially one-year deals the past two seasons remains to be seen.
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