Aikman: Tag could have damaging effects on Dak

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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As the status of a new collective bargaining agreement awaits a player vote, franchise tags and free agency seemingly hover in the uncertain air that is the NFL's upcoming new league year.

Atop the list of intrigue is the long and winding road that is Dak Prescott's contract situation with the Cowboys. Prescott soldiered through the final season of his rookie contract, putting up big numbers on the field while he was paid once more as one of the game's greatest bargains.

As the NFL world and Cowboys faithful waits, one of Dallas' most revered former quarterbacks gushed about Prescott while wondering aloud how poorly things could turn if the franchise tag comes into play.

"I know [Cowboys owner] Jerry [Jones] has talked about wanting to sign him," Pro Football Hall of Famer and Cowboys Ring of Honor member Troy Aikman said recently on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "To me it is a no-brainer, you're right. I'm surprised it hasn't happened. I'd hate to think what might happen or how Dak might feel if they end up going the franchise tag route. I just don't think that's gonna be in the best interest of all parties. Ultimately, I don't think it's in the best interest of the Cowboys and it could have damaging effects in my opinion. I'm hoping they get a deal done."

By all accounts, Prescott has always done right by the Cowboys.

Since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott has started 64 consecutive games. He gritted his way through injuries last season that forced him, unbelievably, to miss the first practices of his NFL career.

He's never held out or held up Jones and the Cowboys, either.

Hence, Aikman thinks that using the franchise tag -- a one-season guaranteed deal based on a five-year average cap percentage from the top five salaries at the position that prevents a player from becoming a free agent -- could cause some disarray.

And in the eyes of Aikman, Prescott's done more than enough to show he's deserving of the deal he desires.

"He's one of the best young players that I've been around," Aikman said of Prescott, who posted career highs of 4,902 yards passing and 30 touchdowns last season. "I think sometimes leaderships and leaders gets thrown around. Those words get thrown around in maybe a way that's not reflective of maybe the players. But this guy in every sense of those words is what he is. His teammates love playing for him. He has an energy and a charisma about him that I haven't seen in very many guys. I think for the most part he's matched that in his play and the progress that he's made."

By the account of Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl champion, Prescott is a throwback, a quarterback driven to lead his team to wins above all individual accolades. It's what Aikman believes has made Prescott a favorite among teammates and so deserving of the mega payday he's waited to receive.

"I've never seen him in a situation where he's not been totally authentic, " Aikman said. "I think that's what's endeared him to the players. He's old school in the sense that he honestly, in a time, when I think more and more players are worried more about themselves, he's an old-school guy that truly only cares about winning football games. It's been refreshing. I love him. I hope he gets his money, he deserves it and I believe he will."

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