Dak Prescott recently turned down a 5 year, 35 million per year deal. The deal would've made him the highest paid player in the history of the league as he would have made 175 million in total. "What was his reasoning behind turning it down?" you might ask. Well, Dak wants his contract to maintain it's value in relation to the salary cap. The salary cap increases each year, so Dak wants a contract that would increase also. He wanted to be making 45 million by the 5th year. Is this reasonable?
Many people say that he doesn't deserve that much because better players aren't making as much. Dak was ranked as the 10th best QB on PFF and ranked 8th on my list, yet he wants to be paid as number 1. The problem with that statement is that Dak is pretty much the cowboys only option. I'm sure that if they were able to sign Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, or Russell Wilson for less, they would. The problem is; they can't. The best available quarterbacks that the cowboys could have to replace Dak are Andy Dalton and Cam Newton. The cowboys, I'm sure, aren't ready to switch from Dak to their backup, Dalton.
So the can we find out how much Dak Prescott deserves? Think of it this way, how much better is Dak for the cowboys than the next available guy? Say the cowboys went with their backup QB, Andy Dalton. How much worse off would they be? When Dalton was a starter with the Bengals, he went to the playoffs 4 times in 9 years. Evidently, the 4 times he went to the playoffs were when he was with a good roster. Honestly, I don't think the cowboys would have a good chance at the playoffs if they promoted Dalton to the starter. He is a 3 time pro-bowler, but he has regressed noticeably. Many people consider the Cowboys as Superbowl contenders, but with Dalton at the helm, this seems very unlikely.
So if the cowboys shouldn't go with Andy Dalton, what should they do? Another option would be to draft a rookie QB. The problem with that is; they would have to have at least a 2-3 year buffer between now and then before they compete for a Superbowl. I'm sure that is the last thing the cowboys want because they're team is right in the middle of they're "Superbowl window" right now, and they wouldn't want to risk losing this opportunity. Also, they might have to go through a year of tanking, which would hurt free agent acquisition and player morale. This move would be very risky, as the Cowboys wouldn't know if the rookie they get will be good, and there is the possibility that they could waste those years for no reason.
So if both options beside signing Dak would make it nearly impossible for the Cowboys to capitalize on they're team's current Superbowl ability, then they almost have to sign him. That is the problem right now for the Cowboys. Obviously there is a limit to the amount they could give Dak, but it is very high. Dak is likely going to wait until Mahomes signs his extension, so the market value of QBs goes up even more. Dak has most of the leverage right now, and don't be surprised when Dak signs a contract worth nearly 200 million total.