As the clock continues to tick for an eventual Dak Prescott extension, the Dallas Cowboys are taking all the steps to make Prescott one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history in 2021. Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Cowboys and DeMarcus Lawrence have agreed to restructure Lawrence's deal, creating a one-year voidable extension for salary cap purposes. Lawrence's $15 million base salary was converted into a signing bonus, which cleared $12 million in cap space for this season.
CBS Sports NFL writer Patrik Walker confirmed the Lawrence restructure was set up to create more cap space for a Prescott extension in 2021, as the Cowboys quarterback is playing the 2020 season under the franchise tag. The Cowboys performed similar moves with Tyron Smith and Zack Martin earlier this offseason, creating $15.12 million in cap space between the two restructured deals this season. Here's the catch to creating cap space now: all of the money can be deferred to the 2021 season -- which is what the Cowboys intend to do in order to reach an extension with Prescott next offseason.
Per Walker, the Cowboys will have $29.5 million in cap space with the Lawrence restructure -- all of which can be rolled over into the 2021 offseason. That $29.5 million will be paramount with a cap floor for 2021 set at $175 million. Prescott is making $31.4 million on the franchise tag in 2020, which he will play under this season. If the Cowboys wish to tag Prescott again for 2021 and fail to reach an extension, the quarterback will be making $37.7 million next year -- not the ideal situation for both parties.
Patrick Mahomes is making an average of $45 million a season and Deshaun Watson an average of $39 million per year after the two received massive extensions this offseason. That drove Prescott's price tag up as the market was reset. Prescott would be the third-highest paid quarterback in 2021 if he plays under the franchise tag once again.
Since entering the league in 2016, Prescott is sixth among all NFL quarterbacks with 15,778 passing yards, ninth with 97 touchdowns and eighth in passer rating at 97.0 (minimum 2,000 attempts). Prescott never missed a game in those four seasons as the Cowboys are 40-24 with him as their starting quarterback. Prescott's 40 wins are tied for second-most in the NFL with Russell Wilson and just seven behind Tom Brady for the league lead.
The deck is stacked in Prescott's favor to receive a lucrative extension from the Cowboys. It's up to Dallas to deliver the winning hand.