Emmitt Smith on Dak Prescott contract talks: Cowboys ‘can’t play chicken’ and ‘will get the deal done’


When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, few names ring a bell like that of Emmitt Smith. So when the Hall of Fame running back takes a stance on an in-house situation, ears tend to perk up. The latest flag Smith is planting has the face of Dak Prescott on it, with Prescott currently in continued negotiation with the team regarding a new contract. The two-time Pro Bowler has yet to sign his exclusive franchise tag worth $31.409 million and has no intention of doing so, as CBS Sports has long reported. Instead, Prescott wants to get his deal done ahead of the July 15 deadline, and so do the Cowboys, but the two sides remain at an impasse.

Granted, the once cavernous difference is now merely a crack in the sidewalk, but the world now waits to see which side will take the final step and concede to the other, and Smith believes that’ll be owner Jerry Jones and Co.

If you understand the business of leverage, when you have leverage then you try to set the rules,” Smith said of the situation, via 105.3FM the Fan. “And the only way you fight leverage is by establishing your ground, and I think at some point this stuff will subside and it’s not that important right now.” 

For Smith, the only reason there is an incessant discussion surrounding Prescott’s contract talks is that, well, it’s disturbingly quiet in the sports world due to the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — in his opinion.

“It’s important to press 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,” Smith said. “And now we’re talking about pandemic left and right, 24-7, seven days a week, however you look at it. So you look for something [else] to discuss.”

Talks remain progressive with Prescott but paused due to the death of his brother. The most recent offer to the 26-year-old was a five-year deal with roughly $35 million and $105 million guaranteed, sources confirmed to CBS Sports in early April, and the team is willing to go upwards of $110 million guaranteed in the hopes of getting the added year of commitment from Prescott who, contrarily, is standing firm at four years after buoying from three — back when the Cowboys attempted to lock him in for seven. 

Prescott currently has all of the leverage, having not yet participated in the team’s virtual offseason and coming off of a career-best season that could’ve seen him set yet another franchise record if not for his receiving corps routinely leading the league in dropped passes. The decision to sign Andy Dalton was nothing close to a leverage move by the Cowboys, separate sources confirm strongly to CBS Sports, with one going so far as to say “yeah right” when posed the question. Dalton is granting Dallas a hometown discount to return home to North Texas and re-establish himself, by way of the backup role, before re-entering the free agency fray of 2021.

With a contract that guarantees him only $900,000 more than the now-released Cooper Rush, the intent behind the move is evident (massive upgrade at QB2), and has nothing to do with Prescott’s contract talks. And considering the Cowboys continue to stack weapons around the QB position while not doing anything to somehow threaten a change at starter, the money is Prescott’s for the taking — although it’ll take a bit more for him to add a year to the deal and rob himself of a chance to land a third deal sooner under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (which has always been his biggest talking point in the negotiations). 

When it gets to the hammer and nails of it all, though, Smith sees no outcome contrary to the deal ultimately getting done.

“Dak is not worried whether or not he’s going to get signed,” said Smith. “I’m not even concerned. I believe he will get it done. And I believe the Cowboys will get it done because we don’t have room to be playing games or playing chicken.”

Smith drew criticism for once suggesting Prescott take a team-friendly discount only months after telling the Cowboys to pay Ezekiel Elliott his asking price, but one thing is for certain, and that’s the fact Smith sees a championship-caliber quarterback in Prescott; and that the Cowboys should act accordingly.

“No doubt,” Smith said. “I believe he is [a Super Bowl-caliber QB]. And I think he’s getting better. I think he has so much more room to grow and I think he’ll get there. 

“I think overall, we have a lot of the pieces of the puzzle in place. …If they can get to that level and develop that chemistry in this timeframe which they have to work with, then I think Dak will only flourish and grow. I think you see that team mature and rally behind their quarterback because he has had some challenges this offseason dealing with the loss of his brother, as well as this pandemic and other things that have crept up. I think he’ll be fine. 

“I love the kid. No doubt, I think he’ll be fine.”

The Cowboys love him too, and for those operating under the narrative that the reason for the delay in signing is that the team is somehow not sold on him — ask yourself this: If they weren’t, why are they desperately trying to keep him for a longer period of time, and not the opposite?

Aha. 





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