The keywords are “at least.”
If the Cowboys and Prescott agree to a multiyear contract, the 2016 fourth-round draft pick will likely make more in terms of signing bonus and salary in 2020 depending on the structure of the deal, but for now, he’ll make $31.4 million.
We also know there will not be a Le’Veon Bell situation with the Cowboys this season. In 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed the franchise tag on their star running back, and Bell sat out the entire season.
By signing the tag, Prescott, 26, has locked himself into making about eight times more than what he made from 2016-19 on his rookie contract (less than $5 million total). He also avoided something that was never going to happen — the Cowboys rescinding the tag.
For those who still believe the Cowboys aren’t sold on Prescott despite their offers throughout the negotiating process, the fact Prescott signed the tender opens up the possibility of something else that will not happen — the Cowboys trading him.
Perhaps Prescott was motivated to sign the tender now because of the coronavirus pandemic. For reference, none of the 14 players who were assigned the franchise tag this year have reached an extension with their club. That reflects, in part, how teams have proceeded cautiously with long-term deals in this uncertain offseason.
By signing the tag, Prescott has guaranteed himself $31.4 million in 2020 and locks in the 2021 franchise tag at $37.7 million, even if the NFL’s salary cap stays flat or takes a dip because of a fall in revenues.
So why sign it now? It’s largely irrelevant at this point. What matters most is July 15, the date that has mattered since the Cowboys put the tag on Prescott in March.
The Cowboys and Prescott’s agent Todd France have not had any real discussions since March, but that does not mean they cannot work out a long-term deal quickly.