Prescott confident he'll be better and so will Cowboys

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Dak Prescott says he never doubted he'd sign a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys, vowing to return from a broken ankle ready to make the club an NFL contender.

The 27-year-old quarterback spoke Wednesday at a news conference in Dallas for the first time since signing a four-year deal worth $160 million with the Cowboys on Monday.

Two years of negotiations went into the deal, intensified by the right ankle injury Prescott suffered last October.

"Never had any doubt I wouldn't be here, that this deal wouldn't get done and it wouldn't be right for both of us," Prescott said.

"There was never a slight doubt in my mind I wouldn't be a Cowboy for the rest of my life. I'm excited for this team and I'll never leave."

While Prescott was unwilling to commit to a timetable for his return, both he and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signalled they expect him to be ready for pre-season camp in July.

"I'm healthy," Prescott said. "I followed the doctor's orders the whole time. I'm getting close. I'll be ready when it matters. I'll be more than healthy and better than I was before."

Jones, who paid $140 million for the club in 1989, guaranteed $120 million of Prescott's deal, including a record $66 million signing bonus.

"Our future is with Dak," Jones said. "Our best chance to get where we want to be, to hold that trophy up... is manifest by signing Dak Prescott."

The deal's structure will ease salary cap woes for 2021, when the payroll limit is set to drop by $15.7 million a team to $182.5 million, and allow the Cowboys to keep other key players plus help a woeful defensive unit.

"The Cowboys won today," Jones said. "I'm excited about the future and that's what we're all interested in.

"There's (money) left. We've got our plans. I assure you there is (some) left. That's a big part."

Prescott played for Dallas last season on a one-year deal for $31.4 million after a career-best campaign in 2019, when he made about $2 million in the final year of his rookie contract.

Prescott completed 388 of 596 passes for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. In 2016 and 2018, Prescott sparked the Cowboys into the second round of the NFL playoffs and to division titles.

"It's the start and beginning to even greater things," Prescott said. "Now I can just move forward and worry about winning and winning the Super Bowl.

"For this to be done, it's reassuring to everybody about where this organization is going to go. We've just got to put all the pieces together and get going."

The Cowboys have not won the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, when they captured a third title in four campaigns.

"Pressure is privilege and I'm privileged to have it," Prescott said.

"All this contract does is raise those expectations for everybody else. Higher expectations creates higher results so I'm all for it.

"This is more about where we're going, the future, what I believe in, that's what this is about."

- Covid complicated deal -

Jones, 78, said the long time it took to seal the Prescott deal did not mean the Cowboys didn't want him back, only that they wanted to take as much time as possible to analyze financial issues and then deal with the complications and impact of Covid-19.

"Don't confuse that with how right we think this decision is and how right it has been from the very beginning. This fits," Jones said. "There was never a doubt in my mind."

Jones said the complicated and lengthy talks "went that way because it could" but "this was not a test of could he handle it at all.

"About the time I thought I had everything figured out, along came Covid. I'm going to blame a little bit of that ambiguity I might have had on the Covid and the structure of how we were going forward.

"I feel great about our future. The main reason is the guy sitting next door to me."