By SCHUYLER DIXON
Dak Prescott walked briskly and bounced up the couple of steps onto the stage for the announcement of the richest contract in the storied history of the Dallas Cowboys for their latest star quarterback.
It was five months almost to the day Wednesday since the gruesome ankle injury that ended Prescott’s 2020 season and led to immediate questions whether the big payday would ever come after a long stalemate.
The answer came two days earlier when the sides — two years after they started talking — agreed on a $160 million, four-year contract with the NFL’s second-highest annual average behind Kansas City star Patrick Mahomes
Now Prescott is ready to answer the questions about coming back from the compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle against the New York Giants on Oct. 11.
“I thought about jogging out here and jumping up on the stage,” said Prescott, who broke into a wild smile while crossing the stage at team headquarters in Frisco, north of Dallas. “But I don’t know if you all are ready for that. But I’m healthy.”
Prescott wouldn’t put a timeline on when he would be fully cleared, but said, “I’ll be ready when it matters.”
For now, Prescott was basking in the hourlong news conference that served as a celebration of the fourth $100 million contract in club history. The first was quarterback Tony Romo, whose back injury in the 2016 preseason opened the door for Prescott to be the starter from the first game of his rookie year.
Prescott’s contract included NFL records with a $66 million signing bonus and a first-year value of $75 million. There is a no-trade clause, and the Cowboys can’t use the franchise tag after the contract. This agreement came a day before a deadline for the Cowboys to place the tag on Prescott for a second consecutive season.
Most importantly for the Cowboys as they try to end a 25-year run without even reaching the NFC championship game, Prescott’s salary cap hit will be $22.2 million instead of $37.7 million under the tag. Dallas needs help on defense and now has some money to spend.
“I feel great about our future,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I don’t mind telling you the main reason I feel great is the guy sitting right next door to me.”