Troy Aikman knows a little something about winning and, specifically, doing so as franchise quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. It's a position that comes with its own unique level of hyper-critiques, as Dak Prescott has now learned over the course of his four seasons in the NFL. The two-time Pro Bowler is currently in line to become the highest-paid player in the history of the franchise and despite coming off of a career-best season statistically, his naysayers continue to hoist reasons they believe the Cowboys shouldn't secure him on a mega-deal for the foreseeable future.
Aikman vehemently disagrees with that stance though, and instead believes Prescott is everything the team needs to get back to the Super Bowl. In a recent interview with 105.3FM the Fan, the Hall of Famer explained in detail why he feels that way.
"I love Dak Prescott," Aikman said. "I love everything about him. What [you're] talking about with regard to me [being a winner], I feel the same way about Dak. I think he's a very unselfish player.
"I wouldn't say that about everybody. He only wants to win. He truly doesn't care about his stats -- just wants to win. He's a leader [and] his teammates love him."
And as far as the lingering contract talks are concerned, the Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Prescott to a long-term deal or he'll be forced to play under the franchise tag that will pay him $31.5 million. As it stands, he's yet to sign his tender as he holds out hope of instead putting his John Hancock on a new contract, but while the talks are at an impasse heading into June, it's far from a cavernous one -- all things considered -- with the club holding out hope they can coax Prescott into a five-year deal as opposed to one that frees him up again after only four.
For perspective, they initially started at seven years (team) and three years (Prescott), before moving closer to middle ground. As an aside, sources also confirm to CBS Sports there was never an ask of $45 million for Year 5 by Prescott's agent, Todd France, and that there have been no setbacks in the negotiations.
The two sides have, but hold firm for now on their respective hills, and with nearly $106 million in guaranteed money. Talks were paused due to the and are expected to resume soon, with the additional expectation that a deal will be agreed upon before the deadline passes, although it could easily go down to the wire.
For his part, Aikman is unequivocal in his stance that not only should the Cowboys pay Prescott, but they inevitably will soon.
"I would pay him," Aikman said. "He will get paid. I'm not saying the Cowboys don't already know -- they will pay him. He's going to make a lot of money.
"And I think he's going to be the quarterback of the Cowboys for a long, long time and continue to have a great career."
His is a sentiment echoed by fellow team legend Emmitt Smith,, and that the only reason the talks are dominating the news cycle is because of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. Not so surprisingly, Aikman agrees with his former teammate on the latter point, pointing at lack of sports in general as the reason for the added news churn over Prescott's contract situation.
"When there's a quarantine and there's not much else to do, it's going to become even more of a topic," Aikman said. "I've been surprised that there has been so much discussion about his contract. It's not like he's not going to be playing for the Cowboys in 2020. Whether he is franchised or he has a deal, he's going to be here playing, and eventually a deal gets done.
"I'm not worried about Dak and his contract. That will take care of itself, and I strongly believe they'll reach a deal and he'll have a long-term contract as opposed to playing under the franchise tag this year."