‘This is only the beginning’: Dak Prescott celebrates his new Cowboys deal

FRISCO, Texas – Dak Prescott peered down at the socially distanced crowd scattered throughout the Star's chandelier-adorned atrium. He waved from a second-story window. Then he headed downstairs, emerged from the elevator and strode right foot after left across the entrance to Cowboys headquarters.

The contract was signed. The recovery prognosis optimistic. The brutal compound fracture and ankle dislocation he suffered Oct. 11 no longer dominated the quarterback's conversation.

Literally and figuratively, Prescott might as well have been skipping.

“I thought about jogging out here and jumping on stage, but I don’t know if you all are ready for that,” Prescott joked in his first public comments since he was carted off the field last year at AT&T Stadium. “But I’m healthy.”

He’s also far richer.

Dak Prescott spoke in public Wednesday for the first time since his season-ending injury in October. (Photo: LM Otero, AP)

The Cowboys and Prescott agreed Monday to a four-year, $160 million extension, two people with knowledge of the contract told USA TODAY Sports. The people spoke on condition of anonymity since the team doesn’t publicly disclose terms. Prescott is guaranteed $126 million, including an NFL-record $66 million signing bonus. In total, he’ll net $75 million in 2021 – more than double his collective salary across his first five professional seasons.

Negotiations were long and winding. Yes, they created polarizing perspectives and conversations about what Prescott was worth and whether the Cowboys valued him appropriately. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insisted the lengthy discussion – this deal took two years to close, for those counting at home – was a matter of when, not if.

“We are keenly aware that the process … has created, if you will, a conversation and maybe even a life of its own,” Jones said. “Don’t confuse that with how right we think this decision is.”

Prescott, too, celebrated what feels like the perfect fit for his professional career. The fourth-round selection who started 72 straight games after he was drafted in 2016 has multiyear security for the first time since 2018. “Little Daks,” as he said, will reap the benefits of generational wealth.

The grind will continue – to recover, to galvanize his teammates and to instill a winning culture on the roster. Prescott was in the Star rehab room as recently as Wednesday morning before festivities to sign and announce his contract in the afternoon.

Cowboys chief operating office Charlotte Jones joked to Prescott this week that once he signed, he “can’t get out.” Prescott doesn’t want to.

“I’m excited to be here, to never leave, and excited for what this organization, what this team, what the fans are going to get,” Prescott said. “Just to know that this is my home; I’m not leaving.

“I’m a Cowboy, and this is only the beginning.”

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

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