Cowboys save more than $15 million in cap space with new Dak Prescott deal

The Cowboys painted themselves into a corner via their prior negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott. The new contract he’ll sign has nevertheless given the Cowboys a path to short-term cap relief.

Based on a $66 million signing bonus spread over five years (the deal has two phony voidable years for cap purposes) and a $9 million base salary in 2021, Prescott’s cap number falls from $37.68 million under the tag to $22.2 million. That’s more than $15.4 million in extra cap space.

With $13.2 million in annual cap charges from the $66 million signing bonus for 2021 through 2025, the cap numbers for the balance of the deal become $33.2 million, $44.2 million, and $47.2 million for 2022, 2023, and 2024, respectively. However, the deal (we’re told) gives the Cowboys the ability to convert pay to a signing bonus at any time. Next year’s $20 million base salary likely will be flipped to a signing bonus, with the 2022 minimum salary of $1.12 million and the $18.88 million balance spread over the five remaining years, reducing the 2022 cap charge from $33.2 million to $18 million.

Those dollars eventually will hit the cap, but they aren’t subject to inflation. As the cap grows and grows, the relative impact of those cap charges shrinks.

Still, a 2022 restructuring will increase the 2024 cap number over $50 million. That makes a new deal after 2023 even more likely.