“How much is enough?” is a question that always gets asked of players, never gets asked of owners


How much is enough? It’s a question that often arises when a millionaire player tries to maximize his earnings. It’s a question that rarely arises when a billionaire owner tries to maximize his.

Simms and I addressed that point on Monday’s PFT Live, within the context of Dak Prescott‘s contractual situation in Dallas. The Cowboys, by not promptly offering Prescott a significant contract extension when he became eligible for one after the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, activated a process that has them on the brink of applying a one-year, $37.68 million franchise tender to Prescott, to be followed in 2022 by a third franchise tender (at $54.25 million), a right-to-match-only transition tender ($45.21 million), or a shot at the open market.

As recently explained, Prescott should happily cling to that large bird in the hand unless the Cowboys offer him another bird of equal or greater size. It’s that simple. And it’s not about what any other quarterback has made or will make. It’s about getting Dak to trade in rights that have been shaped and fueled by the team’s inability to persuade him to accept prior long-term offers.

So what will it take? With $37.68 million guaranteed for 2021 (unless they don’t tag him at all and let the market determine his value), what do the Cowboys need to offer in the form of a multi-year deal that, in most cases, is guaranteed for only two years with a team-held year-to-year option thereafter?

Prescott, given the $31.4 million he earned last year along with his off-field earnings, should be inclined to play it out. And if the Cowboys want to sign him next year, they’ll get to compete with other teams that may want to sign him, too. That’s not a bad thing; for a player, it’s a fair thing.

Open markets. That’s how Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made his money. Capitalism. Competition. Taking full advantage of every business opportunity that came his way. Jones reportedly “hit the jackpot” during a recent cold snap in Texas, thanks to his energy holdings. Does anyone think he’ll give any of that money back?

How much is enough? Everything isn’t enough. All of it isn’t enough. A $250 million yacht isn’t enough. That’s the attitude that has carried Jones his entire life, allowing him to buy an NFL team and to maximize that team’s earnings on and off the field (his $750 million lawsuit against the league from 1995 was aimed at getting more in advertising revenue).

Jones became an American oligarch by constantly taking calculated risks and manipulating the rules of the system to his advantage. When it comes to Prescott, the Cowboys have taken calculated risks and manipulated the rules of the system in a way that has kept Prescott off the open market. In turn, Prescott has taken calculated risks and manipulated the rules of the system to position himself for $37.68 million this year and, most likely, a clear shot at the open market in 2021.

No one should ask Prescott whether he’s being fair to Jones or to the team. No one should be asked Prescott how much is enough. For Jones, too much is never enough. Why should it be any different for Prescott or any other player?