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SportsPulse: Jori Epstein hooked up with Cowboys stars Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to get their point of view on Prescott’s longer term standing with the group.

USA TODAY

Dak Prescott catches himself mid-sentence.

He wishes no hesitation prior to expressing his happiness for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the newest NFL sign caller to money in on a profitable marketplace.

However Prescott chooses his phrases sparsely when addressing his personal industry as he enters his 2d consecutive season on an expiring deal.

“I imagine — I’m now not going to mention I imagine I’m all the time proper,” the Cowboys quarterback advised USA TODAY Sports activities Tuesday in a video interview. “However I’ve self belief in the best way I am going about issues.

“I’m glad for Deshaun and all of the remainder of the fellows.”

Sunday, Prescott will kick off the 2020 season taking part in out a $31.four million franchise smooth he signed in overdue June, weeks prior to he and the Cowboys failed to succeed in a long-term deal prior to the July 15 cut-off date. The Cowboys will compensate Prescott just about as a lot this week as they did in all of 2019, when Prescott price $2.1 million. Throughout each and every of Prescott’s first 3 seasons — through which he began each sport — his wage by no means hit $1 million.

Prescott’s carry this yr is hefty. However he’s contractually assured no cash after 2020. He’s assured no spot at the 2021 Cowboys roster.

Working again Ezekiel Elliott, who’s by no means performed a sport with out Prescott, can’t believe a Cowboys backfield with out his draft classmate and shut buddy by means of his facet.

“No manner. No manner,” Elliott advised USA TODAY Sports activities on Tuesday as he and Prescott promoted their joint spot in Frito-Lay’s 2020 NFL Kickoff campaign commercial. “I don’t assume there’s any risk that that may occur. No, no. There’s no manner that’s someday.

“I’m going to struggle for my man.”

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (four) and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (four) hug after the sport at NRG Stadium. (Picture: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports activities)

‘No surprises right here’

No quarterback in NFL historical past has performed on his group’s franchise tag and due to this fact signed a long-term deal to stick with the membership that drafted him. Best two quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins, have even performed a season at the franchise tag because the league offered the mechanism in 1993. Neither in their résumés on the time reflected that of Prescott, who will get started his 65th consecutive regular-season sport on Sunday.

Even so, time is ticking. And marketplace price seems to be emerging.

For the reason that Cowboys and Prescott’s illustration started negotiating in spring 2019, seven quarterbacks have signed offers averaging no less than $32 million every year. Tremendous Bowl-winning quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger signed their extensions prior to the 2019 NFL draft. Prescott’s draft classmates Carson Wentz and Jared Goff cashed in that summer season. The Vikings prolonged Kirk Cousins for $33 million in line with yr in March. The Chiefs signed away their lifestyles rights to Patrick Mahomes on July 6, to the music of a 10-year extension averaging $45 million a year.

Most recently, the Texans on Saturday awarded Watson a four-year extension that averages $39 million per year.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones maintains the market activity hasn’t changed his expectations.

“There have been no surprises here,” Jones said Tuesday morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “No surprises in Mahomes and Watson. They just happen to be arguably two of the top players in the National Football League, prospective players and, however you want to define them, play the key positions. And, so, I would say that you see no surprise here at all.

“Everybody has to look at their own team, the makeup of their team, their salary cap situation. There’s no doubt that what others are paid comes to play. But I just think if you ask me was I surprised in any way with Mahomes and Watson, I would say not surprised.

“And I reiterate our thinking now, and in the future, is to have Dak as our quarterback.”

‘Here for the long haul together’

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday that the Cowboys are “totally all in” on Prescott.

“We’d love to have it in the rearview mirror, but it’s not,” Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan about negotiations. “We’ll continue to address it and certainly feel very confident that we ultimately get something done.”

Prescott’s 2020 performance, no doubt, will factor into the cards at the 2021 negotiating table. Placing a second franchise tag on Prescott would guarantee him $37.7 million next season, all of which would count toward the salary cap in a year when pandemic windfall is expected to dent it. But Prescott has stated his belief that the market factors into his proposals for compensation and length. Since Stephen Jones said during 2019 training camp that “we’re damn sure not going to be a market setter” paying stars, the Cowboys reset the running back market with Elliott’s six-year, $90 million deal and then signed Cooper to a five-year extension worth up to $100 million — the richest max value ever for a receiver.

The Joneses point to those contracts as a positive for Prescott: The better his weapons, the better the team’s chance to contend. They tout Texas’ lack of state income tax and the Cowboys’ marketability as income boosts not subject to NFL salary cap restrictions. Frito-Lay’s season kickoff campaign marked Prescott and Elliott’s first joint commercial, but Prescott has starred in dozens since 2016.

“Me and Zeke have mentioned being in a industrial (in combination) since our rookie yr, in an effort to in the end get that during motion and shoot it in combination and display our personalities was once amusing,” Prescott mentioned. “Confidently we will do many extra with Tostitos.”

Caring for industry at the box and in loose company will make stronger the possibilities of additional joint advertising and marketing. Prescott echoes Elliott’s sentiment that neither can believe a 2021 Cowboys offense with out its two hallmark items for the remaining half-decade.

“I imply, it calls only for a perfect tandem,” Prescott advised USA TODAY Sports activities. “As he mentioned, I will be able to’t believe me now not in that backfield with him. I think the similar manner. So yeah, I imply, we’re right here.

“We’re right here for the lengthy haul in combination.”

Apply USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

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