Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on Dak Prescott negotiations: QB ‘bet on himself and bet wisely’

Stephen Jones said his fatherly advice would have been different.

Had his own son asked the Cowboys executive vice president whether to take a hard-line stance in negotiating with the Cowboys, Jones says he would have told his son to take the money more than a year ago.

Even so, Jones admits quarterback Dak Prescott has reaped rewards waiting for a long-term deal. Prescott has gambled and appears to be winning.

“I admire him because he never blinks,” Jones said Friday on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I’d have said, ‘Run in there and take that big guarantee and sign up.’ But I do think he’s made money playing it out. We’ll see what happens with the cap and how the virus affects our revenues for the upcoming couple of years.

'But in general, barring something like that where we really continue to struggle from a revenue standpoint of no fans and reduced revenue…he’s bet on himself and bet wisely. He’s answered every bell, every call.”

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has won 62.5 percent of his 64 career games. (Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)

The Cowboys and Prescott began negotiating a long-term deal in spring 2019 after Prescott played three seasons in the league, starting every game after Dallas selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft.

But two offseasons of conversation—2020 much less active than 2019—have proved fruitless. The Cowboys placed an exclusive franchise tag on Prescott in March, Prescott signing the $31.4 million guaranteed tender in June. The Cowboys and Prescott’s agent Todd France had no meaningful conversation about a deal before the July 15 tag deadline, multiple people with knowledge of the conversations told USA TODAY Sports. The people spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of negotiations.

One clear point of contention: Prescott wanted a deal no longer than four years, so he could return to an increasingly rich negotiating table sooner. The Cowboys wanted to extend him for at least five seasons to maximize cap flexibility.

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Prescott considers Watson’s deal a win for Watson and a win for himself.

“I believe—I’m not going to say I believe I’m always right,” Prescott told USA TODAY Sports Tuesday over videoconference. “But I have confidence in the way I go about things.

“I’m happy for Deshaun and all the rest of the guys.”

For now, Jones says, neither side has hurt too much from the extended negotiation. Prescott remains in Dallas, scheduled to make almost as much in the Cowboys’ season opener as he did from the club in all of 2019. The Cowboys still have their unquestioned leader under center.

Prescott said Tuesday he anticipates being in Dallas “for the long haul.” Jones said Friday that the Cowboys sure hope so.

“I have nothing but respect for where he's been,” Jones said. “Up to this point I don't think it's really hurt anybody. He's obviously going to make a lot of money this year. And we all know he's going to make a whole lot more money in the future.

“Certainly, we want it to be right here in Dallas."

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

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