GRAPEVINE, Texas (TNS) — Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is the NFL's highest-paid player, after recently signing a five-year contract extension worth $150 million. Seven NFL quarterbacks in the league own deals worth at least $100 million, including the rich new contract for San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott could join their ranks as soon as this time next year.
Prescott is coming off an up-and-down sophomore season that followed a Pro Bowl rookie year. He unquestionably faces a pivotal third season this fall. But Dallas believes he is its franchise QB for a long time to come. He is eligible to receive a contract extension after the 2018 season, even though his four-year rookie contract extends through 2019.
The Cowboys are well aware of what kind of salary Prescott will likely command. They've had him on the cheap ($2.7 million) since selecting him in the fourth round of the draft in 2016. He's started every game the last two seasons. Compare that to Garoppolo, who is making $137 million over the next five seasons, despite only starting seven games during the last four seasons.
"You know, at that position, it kind of is what it is," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday from the team's annual golf tournament for sponsors. "I know Dak is going to have a great 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. We all see what some of the other guys who aren't (Green Bay great) Aaron Rodgers, who aren't Matt Ryan (are earning). 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. And I just want Dak to go out there and be the MVP this year of the NFL, that's what I want. And we'll deal with that."
The Cowboys are reworking their offense this season, focusing on what best suits Prescott's strengths. They are committed to a new-look receiving corps without a true No. 1 receiver, moving on from Dez Bryant, who was released last month. The idea is for Prescott to spread the ball around and continue to let Ezekiel Elliott run the ball behind one of the league's top offensive lines, which was re-fortified this offseason.
With Bryant's release and the retirement last week of 15-year tight end Jason Witten, the Cowboys are Prescott's team more than ever before.