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Stephen Jones: Cowboys need to get Dak's deal done

With the Dallas Cowboys' season over, the Jason Garrett drama settled, and Mike McCarthy in the saddle, the Joneses will now gallop forward with their most pressing matter of the offseason: locking down Dak Prescott.

Prescott put contract talk on hold during the 2019 campaign after offseason speculation put his future deal anywhere from $34 million to $40 million per season.

Cowboys Executive VP Stephen Jones made it clear Friday on 1310 The Ticket, Dallas plans to get a deal done with Dak, and noted the sides almost completed a pact before the season started.

"We've got to land the plane and get his deal done," Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. "That's on Jerry and myself. He's our future. I think he stepped up and improved in all ways last year. ... We went over this in depth with Coach McCarthy and he thinks [Dak] is a top-end, top-caliber quarterback. We can do everything we want to do and more with Dak. [McCarthy] can't wait to spend time with him. We've got to land the plane on his contract and get him signed up sooner than later. He deserves everything he has coming. We got real, real close there to start the season and just didn't finish up. He's so laser-focused on wanting to win football games and compete that he really didn't want the distraction once we didn't get it done in that first week of going back and forth with the contract. We just got to move forward. He's our quarterback of the future. I'll take him any time when you go to war against these guys. We're fortunate to have him."

The Cowboys had a disappointing up-and-down season to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs.

Prescott, however, showed he could be part of the long-term solution, finishing one yard shy of tying Tony Romo's franchise record of 4,903 yards passing in 2012.

Prescott finished with a 65.1 completion percentage, averaged 306.4 yards passing per game and 8.2 yards per attempt and racked up 30 TD passes, 11 INTs and a 99.7 passer rating. The QB struggled at times against upper-echelon talent, throwing 11 TDs and eight INTs with an 87.1 passer rating as Dallas went 2-7 against teams that finished the season at or above .500.

Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft and replacing Romo as the Cowboys' starter, Prescott has held the reins in Dallas. The signal-caller joined Dan Marino as the only QBs in the Super Bowl era with 40-plus wins and 15,000-plus passing yards over their first four seasons.

After having the quarterback at a bargain rate, the Cowboys head into the offseason knowing they'll have to pay up.

The tricky part for Dallas, and the reason there was some urgency in Jones' comment, is that Prescott isn't the Cowboys' only big-ticket free agent. Receiver Amari Cooper is also scheduled to hit the open market in March. Getting one of their prime free agents locked down early would clear the franchise tag to potentially used on the other player. If forced into a quandary, the Cowboys seem likely to lean toward franchise-tagging Prescott.

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