FRISCO, Texas – You’d have to be crazy to think Dak Prescott isn’t involved in his own contract negotiations, but that’s about all the quarterback wants to say on the matter.
“I mean, yeah I’m involved – it’s about me,” Prescott said. “But they stand where they stand.”
Prescott’s Thursday media session marked the rare occasion where an interview required a visual aid, as the Cowboys’ signal caller brought a prop to his locker. Every offseason the hat manufacturer Stetson, a team sponsor, gifts Cowboys players with hats for the coming year.
Cue Prescott, who opted to wear his Stetson to his final interview before the start of training camp. Asked one more time about his contract, he had the joke ready.
“It happens when it happens,” he said. “I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy – we’ll say that.”
That’s pretty much been Prescott’s mantra throughout the spring, as speculation continues to swirl about when he’ll join the list of the NFL’s best-paid quarterbacks, and what exactly that price tag will look like.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz signed his own $128 million extension last week, offering a road map of what to expect when Prescott does eventually sign. But if Prescott sees any comparison for his own deal with Wentz’s, he offered only congratulations to his fellow 2016 draft pick.
“I was happy for Carson – a guy that deserves it, a guy that’s been great in this league,” he said. “He had an awesome year. Potentially, without the injury, Wentz is the MVP. Congrats to Carson. I know him personally, he deserves it.”
Without much movement on the contract front, the focus shifts to Prescott’s play over the last month. The three-year veteran was impressive, to say the least, over the course of 11 offseason practices.
Throughout the course of OTAs and minicamp, it’s been noted by everyone from his new quarterback coach Jon Kitna, to his recently-returned tight end, Jason Witten.
“More than anything else, I think his anticipation with the throws and his accuracy have been off the charts since we started camp,” Witten said Wednesday.
Prescott was asked about those comments, and while he couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason, he acknowledged that he can feel a difference in his level of play.
“I’d say this is the best I’ve felt,” he said. “Who knows – is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.”
One theme through this week has been footwork. Kitna said Wednesday that Prescott can throw the ball “through a Froot Loop” when his feet and shoulders are in the right spot. Unprompted, Prescott mentioned that fact when asked about his improvement this offseason, but he also said he’s seeing the field much clearer than before.
“I’d start there, but as I said, just having three years under my belt,” he said. “Seeing the game the way that I do know – seeing it the moment I break the huddle, the defense trying to get lined up and having a great idea what they’re going to do – that’s been one of the biggest standouts I can say, mentally. I’m just seeing things a whole lot clearer.”
The results have been obvious on the field, but they’re still only non-contact practices. Prescott joked that Jeff Heath wasn’t allowed to hit him when the two got into a tangle during Wednesday’s session.
But, in a statement that should surprise no one, he said he has no intention of losing his edge during the six-week wait for training camp. There will be a chance for some down time, but Prescott said the goal is to maintain this momentum heading into July, when the Cowboys board their plane for Oxnard, Calif.
“It’s just about making sure that we continue to do that individually – get better throughout this break, make sure that when we come back together as a team, we don’t miss a beat,” he said.
Perhaps Prescott’s contract will get done between now and then. Or perhaps the Cowboys will hammer out the details during their stay on the West Coast, as has been a tradition in recent years.
Regardless, and to Prescott’s point: if he maintains this run of play, those things will sort themselves out in due time.