Stephen Jones says Cowboys are in 'active discussions' with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper
The Cowboys already extended their star edge rusher and it looks like the quarterback and wide receiver are up next
The Dallas Cowboys have maintained all offseason that they want to get long-term contracts done for the various young stars who they envision as pillars of their team for years to come. Earlier this month, they did just that with DeMarcus Lawrence, signing the star edge rusher to a five-year, $105 million contract that contains $65 million in guarantees.
While there are many other candidates for new deals such as Byron Jones and Ezekiel Elliott, it looks like the next guys up will be Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. At least, according to executive vice president and COO (and Jerry Jones' son) Stephen Jones, who said during a radio interview on Tuesday that the Cowboys are already in discussions with both players.
"Yeah, we're always open to looking at things," Jones said, per Pro Football Talk. "Certainly if there are opportunities there that make sense, then we'll progress. I think pretty much everybody's on it pretty good that there's some pretty active discussions now with Dak and Amari, but it doesn't mean that some can't pick up in short order with other players that we have on our roster that we certainly want to keep here in Dallas and have them remain Cowboys in the future."
Prescott is headed into the final year of his rookie contract, which has made him one of the best values in football over the past three seasons, a time during which he has counted against Dallas' books for a total of just $1,907,554. His cap hit is currently set at $2,120,849 for the 2019 season, which would still represent tremendous value. Obviously, Prescott has been this cheap because unlike most starting quarterbacks, he was a fourth-round pick. That's also why he is up for an extension now; unlike most other young starters, he does not have a fifth-year option on his contract. Prescott will likely not surpass Russell Wilson as the highest-paid quarterback in the league, but he will absolutely be getting a significant raise.
And that's why the Cooper deal may have to get done first. Cooper is currently set to play the 2019 season on his fifth-year option, which is set at $13,924,000. If the Cowboys sign him to an extension, however, they can lower his base salary and cap hit in order to create more room to fit Prescott's new contract on the books and not have to pay quite as much of a price later on in the deal. Having traded a first-round pick for Cooper last season and seen his production explode down the stretch, the Cowboys are surely confident Cooper will be a contributor for years to come, so it makes sense to lock him up.
Spotrac says the Cowboys currently have $14 million in space on their books but their draft haul will account for nearly $4 million of that space. Getting Cooper done first gives more room to accommodate Prescott, but it will also likely be an easier deal to complete because the wide receiver market is more defined than the one for quarterbacks -- especially those coming off as relatively low a salary as Prescott.
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