Dak Prescott is inching towards becoming another Kirk Cousins. He’s signed his franchise tender, and if he doesn’t agree to a long-term contract in the next three weeks, he’ll be locked into a one-year deal.

By signing the deal, Prescott is guaranteed to receive $31.4 million for the 2020 season. If the two sides can’t agree to a contract by the July 15 deadline, they’ll have to resume negotiations next year.

There hasn’t been much progress in talks, but things should heat up as the deadline approaches, with Prescott in the running to land one of the top few contracts in the league. With a contract averaging $35 million, Russell Wilson is currently the game’s highest-paid player, with six other quarterbacks signed to contracts averaging at least $30 million.

If there’s no contract, the Cowboys could potentially tag Prescott again next spring, but the price would go up to $37.7 million (even if the pandemic causes the salary cap to decline). The price would exceed $54 million if Dallas tried to cap him again in 2022 (that’s the situation Washington got into with Cousins in 2018 when it decided to tap out).

Some may debate whether Prescott is worth a monster contract, but he becomes more palatable when compared to some of the other quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz are all signed to deals averaging $32-34 million annually.

Prescott has been wildly underpaid thus far, making less than $5 million combined in his first four seasons. If you were to argue that he’s been a $20-25 million player so far, his career earnings right now should be at $80-$100 million. I don’t know how much he’s pulling down from Campbell’s Soup, but it ain’t that.

In my eyes, with Prescott now locked in place, he’s definitely locked into the second tier of quarterbacks. There’s Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, and then there’s not much difference (in my opinion) between the next five guys. I would be happy with Prescott, Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray or Matt Ryan.

In per-game production, all of those quarterbacks ranked between 5th and 13th last year.

Lamar Jackson, Balt.15208802.40.4730.9
Jameis Winston, T.B.16319162.06.0626.7
Ryan Tannehill, Ten.10260182.20.4026.2
Matthew Stafford, Det.831282.38.0025.9
Deshaun Watson, Hou.15257281.73.5325.9
Dak Prescott, Dall.16306171.88.1925.8
Patrick Mahomes, K.C.14288161.86.1424.4
Daniel Jones, NYG12251232.00.1724.2
Russell Wilson, Sea.16257211.94.1924.0
Drew Brees, N.O.1127102.45.0923.9
Matt Ryan, Atl.15298101.73.0723.3
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mia.13259181.46.3122.6
Kyler Murray, Ariz.16233341.25.2521.9
Josh Allen, Buff.16193321.25.5621.6
Carson Wentz, Phil.16252151.69.0621.5
Andy Dalton, Cin.1326961.23.3121.1
Jared Goff, LAR1629031.38.1321.0
Gardner Minshew, Jac.12237281.50.0021.0
Aaron Rodgers, G.B.16250111.63.0620.9
Philip Rivers, LAC1628821.44.0020.5
Jimmy Garoppolo, S.F.1624941.69.0620.2
Tom Brady, N.E.1625421.50.1920.1
Kyle Allen, Car.1225281.42.1720.1
Kirk Cousins, Min.1524041.73.0719.9
Baker Mayfield, Cle.1623991.38.1919.6
Sam Darnold, NYJ1323351.46.1519.3
Derek Carr, Oak.1625351.31.1319.2
Jacoby Brissett, Ind.15196151.20.2717.9
Mitchell Trubisky, Chi.15209131.13.1317.2
Mason Rudolph, Pitt.819141.25.0015.0
Joe Flacco, Den.82283.75.0014.9
Case Keenum, Was.819421.25.0014.8

—Ian Allan