Emmitt Smith on Cowboys, Dak Prescott talking contract: Don't play chicken

Sporting News

Cowboys great Emmitt Smith is urging the franchise to avoid "playing chicken" in contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott is scheduled to play the 2020 season under the exclusive franchise tag, which will pay him over $31 million. He and the Cowboys face a July 15 deadline to reach a long-term deal.

Reports this week suggested Prescott could become the NFL's highest-paid player with a contract worth $35 million annually, though he was pushing for a four-year deal rather than a five-year pact.

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The Cowboys swooped in to sign veteran Andy Dalton after the Bengals released him this month, but they have reiterated their desire to reach an agreement with Prescott.

Smith, a three-time Super Bowl winner with the Cowboys, has faith a deal will get done despite the constant media speculation.

"As far as the players go, Dak is not worried whether or not he's going to get signed," Smith told Dallas radio station KRLD-FM. "I'm not even concerned. I believe he will get it done and I believe the Cowboys will get it done. We don't have room to be playing games or playing chicken.

"It's important to [media] people that need something to talk about because you don't have much to talk about because we don't have camps and minicamps and so forth.

"The business of leverage, when you have leverage, then you try to set the rules, and the only way you fight leverage is you fight it by establishing your ground. I think at some point this stuff will subside."

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Smith offered his take after another former Cowboys first-round pick, Marcus Spears, opined Prescott would be "crazy" not to sign a deal for the amounts reported. Spears, though, suggested the saga was not normal.

"If they've offered Dak $35 million a year and over $100 million guaranteed and he's turning it down because of an extra year, Dak is crazy," Spears said to ESPN. "I've never known a guy to fight over a year if he's going to get $100 million guaranteed, because, usually, all that matters to NFL players is, 'What am I getting going to my bank account?'

"[But] I'm thinking something about the structure of this contract is giving Dak and his agent pause before signing."

Since the start of last season, the Cowboys have agreed to big-money extensions with Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith and Demarcus Lawrence.

Spears added: "Out of every [quarterback] contract we've watched get done [on other teams] there was not this delay. There was not this many players being signed to the team before the quarterback.

"There was not a nine-year starter [Dalton] signed as a backup. We keep watching it like they'll go about normal business and get the deal done. All of this stuff, this ain't normal."

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