Jerry Jones responds to criticism about Dak Prescott’s contract after ankle injury

Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury brought on the inevitable discussions about his contract. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, as usual, had a response.

Prescott was playing out the 2020 season under the franchise tag after he and Dallas couldn’t agree on a long-term deal in the offseason. Jones has continued to call Prescott the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback, and he did so again on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas after Prescott suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation Sunday against the Giants.

“We’ve got to be reminded that to have a team, we’ve got to really manage how we dole out our resources,” Jones said Tuesday. “Dak is deserving of anything that you want to put on a piece of paper, relatively speaking. He’s deserving of that. If you evaluate what he can do to help us win championships, you can see that it’s there. Plus, he’s a leader at the premier leader spot. We’ve got to make it work.”

Offseason reports indicated that Prescott was asking for $40 million or more per year in a long-term contract. Under the franchise tag this season, Prescott is making $31.4 million. His injury throws into some doubt whether Dallas would either again franchise tag or extend Prescott in the offseason, with a recovery timetable of four to six months only an estimate for such a serious injury.

“You really are vulnerable when you really put a running game in that really relies, not relies, but just really utilizes a lot the running game with the quarterback,” Jones added. “This game is gonna get you, you’re gonna get hurt.”

The Cowboys have already extended a number of their key pieces around Prescott. Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Jaylon Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence and La’el Collins have all signed extensions with the Cowboys since 2019. Cooper’s was the most recent, a five-year, $100-million deal in the offseason to surpass Michael Thomas’ $96.5-million extension.

Prescott was on pace to set the NFL’s single-season passing yardage record before his injury. He’d grown into the Cowboys’ most important offensive player since Dallas acquired Cooper midway through the 2018 season. Prescott had previously been more of a game manager after being selected in the fourth round in 2016 out of Mississippi State.

The Cowboys will play the rest of the season with longtime Bengals starter Andy Dalton now starting for them. Prescott would certainly take the starting job back if he’s on the Dallas roster in 2021. Jones said in his interview that he doesn’t “have any (concerns)” about Prescott “getting back to normal.”

Whenever Prescott returns, the questions about his contract will surely be brought up again. Jones said he stands where he did before the season on those discussions.

“You don’t always have (the quarterback),” Jones said. “So you’ve gotta rely on other parts of your team. We do not, and we do not go into a contract negotiation with the idea it stands alone. It has to be a part of the tools that you have, which is your salary cap, to put a team on the field and try to figure out the best way to win. Really, that’s the underlying issue here.”

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