Troy Aikman: Dallas Cowboys should hustle just a bit and sign Dak Prescott long term

The names read like a list of no names, never weres and has beens: Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson, Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe. That is the quarterbacks who began for the Cowboys between Troy Aikman’s retirement and when the team lucked into Tony Romo.

The Cowboys lucked into Dak Prescott as Romo’s heir apparent, moving between different franchise quarterbacks in 2016 after Romo was harmed in a preseason game.

“They’re not going to get very far without a franchise quarterback,’’ Aikman told David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “They’ve got that in Dak.’’

Prescott has begun 69 of a potential 80 games for the Cowboys in his career, missing the final 11 games in 2020 with a compound fracture and disengaged right ankle. The Cowboys, 2-3 with Prescott, went 4-7 without him.

Prescott, however, is planned to become a free agent one month from now in the wake of playing keep going season on the one-year franchise tag.

“I think the price tag went up,’’ Aikman said. “I think Dak’s leverage went up after this year.’’

The Cowboys and Prescott’s representation have negotiated very nearly two years without agreeing.

In the event that the Cowboys can’t work out a long-term deal with their quarterback by March 9, they are relied upon to utilize the $37.7 million franchise tag on him. That would purchase the Cowboys four months to get a long-term agreement with Prescott or danger his expected takeoff in 2022.

Kirk Cousins is the lone quarterback in NFL history to play under the franchise tag in consecutive seasons. He then left Washington as a free agent in 2018.

“I’d be really surprised if [Prescott] is playing under the franchise tag again this year,’’ Aikman said. “My guess is if he is, that will be the last we see of Dak Prescott [in Dallas].

“I just can’t imagine that he’s going to feel really good giving an open negotiation to the Cowboys if he’s played two years under the franchise tag.”

Aikman, however, expresses optimism that the Cowboys will get it worked out with Prescott that keeps Prescott in Dallas long term. The FOX examiner utilized “hopeful,” a similar word most Cowboys fans would utilize.