Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and NBC Sports' Peter King discuss the timetable and road to recovery for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and if it'll change his contract negotiations with Jerry Jones.
MIKE FLORIO: "PFT" on Yahoo Sports-- Peter King, Mike Florio, some of the biggest stories in the NFL. There's not bigger right now than the Dak Prescott injury, a gruesome and just horrifying situation for a quarterback who doesn't have a long-term deal. We don't know what his future is going to be. Surgery has been performed. He's already home from the hospital. And on Monday, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones called Dak Prescott the face of the franchise. So will the face of the franchise, Peter, still be employed by the franchise in 2021?
PETER KING: Mike, I think he will. I think there's two things to keep an eye on here in the next I'd say week or so. Number one, is there any infection that sets in the same way it did with Alex Smith that led to all-- the 18 surgeries for Alex Smith and now one of the great comebacks in NFL history? And let's just assume, optimistically, that there are no complications, that there are no infections. You wouldn't think they would have sent him home from the hospital if there was a chance for an infection, but we'll see.
So let's just assume that this is, as has been reported, somewhere between a four and eight month recovery period with, obviously, a very, very important bone to a quarterback who's got to move around a lot and who's got to set his feet and throw the football. So what we're going to assume, Mike, is that he's going to be OK for opening day 2021.
And if that is the case-- I think there's a factor at play that nobody really considers, and that is the outpouring of love and affection and deep respect for Dak Prescott, not just from the 52 other guys in his locker room or his coaching staff. I am-- I've been stunned to see everybody around the league, in other sports, you know, all over Dallas-- everything is, oh man, we feel for you. This is awful. This is terrible.
I've never seen a more empathetic response to an injury, Mike, in a long time than I've seen toward Dak Prescott. And so I think the Cowboys realize this. They know what an asset Dak Prescott is to their franchise as a leader and a player. And Mike, I believe that even if they don't get a contract done, they will re-up him. In a bad situation for them cap wise, with the cap going down to $175 million next year, they will re-up him, even if it takes them $37 million.
MIKE FLORIO: Yeah, and that's the key. They have until late February to do a long-term deal. They can negotiate it now. They just can't sign it until after the season ends. But if they can't work it out, the ultimate leverage for Dak is to say, franchise tag me again. I'm guaranteed $37.68 million next year, regardless of where the cap goes. And as you said, it will be likely as low as $175 million.
And the alternative, let the market determine my value. And Peter, I've looked around at the teams, and you project forward who's going to be looking for quarterbacks. And we don't even need to go any farther than the NFC East.
Because if the Giants and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, if Washington, if maybe even Philadelphia would get a crack at Dak Prescott, they would crack open the vault and possibly offer more than the Cowboys. That's all the more reason for the Cowboys to make sure that never happens. If it takes $37.68, if there's no guarantee he's going to be healthy for week one, we just have to do it.
PETER KING: Yeah, and the one other thing, I think, to consider, Mike, is it's not just Dak Prescott competing against air. It's Dak Prescott competing against three top-10 quarterbacks in the draft next April. So you know, it's one thing if you're, let's say, the New York Giants and you have the first pick in the draft, I mean, what would you do?
And I'm not saying you wouldn't go hard after Dak Prescott if you're disillusioned with Daniel Jones. What I am saying is that, you know, contractually, financially, and in all ways, you might rather have Trevor Lawrence. But again, that's only one team. I think there--
MIKE FLORIO: That's right.
PETER KING: --will be suitors lined up to take a good shot at Dak Prescott.
MIKE FLORIO: There's going to be more teams looking for quarterbacks than there are Trevor Lawrences. And if Dak gets to the open market, we're going to find out what he's really worth, and that may be the thing that keeps the Cowboys from letting it happen. That's it for this edition of "PFT" on Yahoo Sports. We'll see you next time.