There is no greater bargain in sports than a starting NFL quarterback on a rookie contract. That deal grows by the nth degree when that quarterback is a mid-to-late-round pick, like Dak Prescott.
After paying Prescott pennies, the Dallas Cowboys brass knows it will need to ante up soon.
"Yeah, you know at that position, it kind of is what it is," EVP Stephen Jones said Wednesday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "You kind of, when the time comes, [expect to pay him]. I know Dak is going to have a good year this year. I hope it's up there. It's going to be as he deserves. He was a fourth-round pick. No one deserves to get paid fairly more than he does."
Thus far, the Dallas Cowboys have been reaping the benefits of Prescott making chicken feed. The fourth-round pick signed a four-year contract in 2016 worth $2.7 million total -- that's less than what slot receiver Cole Beasley will make in base salary this year ($3.25 million). Prescott is slated to make $630,000 in base salary in 2018. His $725,848 cap hit is the 35th highest on the Cowboys, less than the likes of Charles Tapper ($784,470), Chaz Green ($877,234) or Joe Looney ($975,000).
Prescott is eligible for a contract extension after the 2018 season. Set to earn $720,000 in base salary in 2019, this year could be the last that the Cowboys own the luxury of paying the starting quarterback less than a backup center.
With the going rate for starting QBs soaring well past the $100 million figure, the Cowboys know they'll soon need to pay the QB piper. Given Prescott's status as a fourth-rounder, Stephen Jones is aiming for a figure that should be around second-tier money when Prescott is eligible -- perhaps closer to Jimmy Garoppolo's $137.5 million deal than Matt Ryan's $150-million whopper, or whatever astronomical figure Aaron Rodgers receives.
"We all see what some of the other guys are who aren't Aaron Rodgers, who aren't Matt Ryan [are getting paid]," Jones said. "He's going to do well. We certainly know that's going to happen. We've got that planned in our budgeting for the salary cap.
"I just want Dak to go out and be MVP this year of the NFL. That's what I want. Then, we'll deal with that."
Prescott has taken criticism from a portion of the Cowboys fans base for his struggles last year. A bounce-back season would help secure a financial payment that could make the fourth-round pick one of the top-paid quarterbacks by the time the 2019 Summer Blockbusters are released.