Cowboys' Stephen Jones says Dak Prescott deserves to be 'paid fairly'

The Dallas Cowboys have drafted well in recent years.

But when you draft well, the bill eventually becomes due. In other words, those easy-on-the-salary-cap rookie deals run out, and then it’s time to pay players who’ve developed like you’d hoped or risk losing them.

Last week, Dallas and pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence agreed to one of the largest deals ever for a non-quarterback.

This week, it’s time for the Cowboys to turn their attention to their quarterback.

Cowboys want to sign Dak Prescott before season starts

During a Monday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3, Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones said the team would like to get quarterback Dak Prescott signed to an extension before the season starts.

“I mean, that’s what we’d like to do. You don’t get to control these things,” Jones said. “There’s two sides to this. We've really never just gotten into the weeds in terms with Dak himself in terms of what his preference is. I know he's focused on winning and really getting as many players as he can out there working so we can have a great team next year.

“At the same time, I'm sure it'll be coming. There will be a point in time where we all get around and say, ‘Hey, let's get this done by a certain time and put it behind us’.”

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Dak Prescott through the years
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Dak Prescott through the years
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: South team's quarterback Dak Prescott #15 with Mississippi State on January 30, 2016 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Quarterback Dak Prescott #14 of Mississippi State speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum during preseason on August 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
25 SEP 2016: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) [20763] during the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warming up before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 28-14. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Ezekiel Elliott #21 takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the game against the Green Bay Packers on October 16, 2016 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cowboys defeated the Packers 30-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to overtime with Quarterback Tony Romo (9) looking on during the NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on October 30, 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Dak Prescott #4 hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on from the field after a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers 35-30. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after an interview during the NFL Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, 2016, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers with a final score of 35-30. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 20: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) points to the sky after throwing a touchdown during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens on November 20, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Dallas defeats Baltimore 27-17. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up on the field prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leads the huddle against the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dak Prescott #4 (L), Ezekiel Elliott #21, and Cole Beasley #11 of the Dallas Cowboys relax before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: NFL player Dak Prescott attends The 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - JULY 24: Dak Prescott #4 and head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys share a laugh during the first day of training camp on July 24, 2017 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys adjusts his jersey on the field during warmups before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the field during player warm ups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to the NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys on October 1, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the field prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant #88 against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the sidelines during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Cowboys win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on October 29, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) scrambles free from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey (97) for a touchdown run in the first half on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warm up prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys tries to evade tackle on a scramble in the first half of a football game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) smiles during pregame warmups before a game against the New York Giants on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (David Kent/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates in the final moments of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter of a football game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field after the Seattle Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-12 at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 03: NFL Player Dak Prescott attends the NFL Honors at University of Minnesota on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) drops back to pass during the morning walk-through at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
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Prescott is officially in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal.

Deal ‘gotta be team friendly’

But Jones also has said publicly something that might be giving Prescott and his agents pause: he believes quarterback extensions “gotta be team friendly.”

Players should get as much as possible, but in the Cowboys’ case, Prescott isn’t the only key player who is coming up on the end of his contract. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is also heading into the fourth year of his pact, though as a first-round pick Dallas could pick up his fifth-year option by the May 3 deadline.

However, pushing off Elliott could make it more difficult to extend receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones, both of whom will be playing on their fifth-year options in 2019.

So it’s complicated for Prescott and the Cowboys.

“I know Dak want this, you want a supporting cast,” Jones said. “That’s the way to go down as being one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game: win championships.

“There's been a lot of good players who won a lot of games and have good stats, but if you don't have championships, certainly there's an empty feeling there. I know Dak. His No. 1 goal here is to win Super Bowl championships. He's a winner; he's a leader.

“I just feel good that we'll find our way to a place that the contract enables us to surround him with a great supporting cast which a lot of it's in place. If you look at our offensive line, look at our receiving core, you look at Zeke: a lot of it's there. Obviously with [Jason] Witten coming back and some young tight ends, certainly that's a nice spot for us, too. So we've just gotta keep building on that and be able to fit Dak in.

“He certainly deserves to be paid fairly. He's a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, as we all know. He's never made a lot of money, per se, with his contract. Certainly deserves to be paid and be paid fairly.”

Prescott: I’m not in Brady’s situation

In February, Prescott did an interview with USA Today in which he scoffed at the notion of taking a hometown discount, and cited a foolish reason: Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bündchen.

Brady has historically agreed to below-market deals. Bündchen, one of the most famous women on the planet, makes more money than he does - by a lot. But Brady agreed to those types of deals before he was married, understanding that the New England Patriots can keep other key players under contract if he takes a little less.

“Nobody’s wife makes as much money as his wife does either,” Prescott said. “When Tom Brady isn’t the breadwinner in the home, then that’s a great problem to have. So in that case, he can do that. He can do his contract however you want to do it.”

No one is suggesting Prescott should take pennies on the dollar. And he should want as much as he can get. But if he likes having Prescott and Cooper and others on the team with him, he might have to consider his asking price, particularly since the six highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL in 2018 were all done for the season when Prescott and the Cowboys were in the playoffs.

‘He’s got rare intangibles’

Reporters have estimated that Prescott’s deal will be in the $25 million to $28 million per year range, though as with all NFL contracts, the fully guaranteed money is what matters most.

Jones wouldn’t discuss details, but elaborated on why Prescott has earned an extension.

“I just think he's got rare intangibles: his ability to interact with the team [in the] offseason, during the season, on the field, off the field. He's very well respected by all parts of our team, and that's rare,” Jones said. “Some guys get along with [defensive backs], some guys get along with their receivers, some guys get along with the offensive line. Dak just has a way with not only getting along with the offensive side of the ball, but with all facets of the team. So his leadership skills.

“He's the hardest worker out there. He'll go with any group at any time. If groups need to split up you'll see him out there sometimes three times a day throwing. He sets the tone. He's what we're all about. I just think that's hard to find. I think it's rare and I think he just has those leadership skills and intangibles. Players love to play for him. I think that's why he's had so much success winning.”

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