Dallas Cowboys resume talks with QB Dak Prescott on deal to pay him $35M a year

March 26 (UPI) — The Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott have returned to the bargaining table for contract negotiations, hoping to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

Sources told ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports the two parties resumed negotiations Wednesday. Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports reported the deal is a four- or five-year pact worth $35 million annually. The Cowboys prefer a five-year contract for Prescott, while the Cowboys quarterback favors the shorter term.

The Cowboys officially placed its exclusive franchise tag on Prescott on March 16. The team said he will receive $33 million in 2020 if he does not sign a long-term contract before the season begins. The exclusive tag means no other team can negotiate with the Dallas quarterback.

A $35 million annual salary would make Prescott and Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger makes $34 million annually, followed by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers at $33.5 million each. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is expected to receive at least $40 million a year when he receives a new contract from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Prescott would be the only quarterback in that group who has not yet played in a Super Bowl. New Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy — who coached Rodgers in Green Bay — said last month he believes Prescott can win the big game.

“I think he’s gotten off to a great start,” McCarthy said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s built a really good foundation. I’m told he’s a tremendous leader. According to my philosophy … defenses get you to the championship, quarterbacks win championships. I definitively feel Dak is that quarterback.”

Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz are the only other quarterbacks who earn more than $30 million a year who haven’t appeared in a Super Bowl. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan — who has appeared in a Super Bowl and won an NFL MVP award — is the only other NFL quarterback with an average annual salary of at least $30 million.

Prescott completed 65.1 percent of his throws for a career-high 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 16 starts last season. The two-time Pro Bowl selection hasn’t missed a start since being picked in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Cowboys and Prescott have been negotiating all off-season before Dallas used the franchise tag to secure the quarterback’s services for 2020.

Prescott, 26, has completed 65.8 percent of his throws for 15,778 yards, 97 touchdowns and 36 interceptions during his four seasons with the Cowboys. He has a 40-24 record in the regular season and is 1-2 in the playoffs. He led the Cowboys to an 8-8 finish in 2019, after posting winning records in each of his first three NFL seasons.