There is a lot of buzz right now about the deal made between the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott. Simply put, a lot of people don’t like it. Social media is the modern day courtyard, or town center, where you can get a feel of the publics reactions, comments, and concerns.
Contrary to the thoughts of those on social media, this deal was the right deal to make. Many believe Dak was overpaid. They base their thoughts on the belief that a contract should reflect only what is expected of the player in the future. This does not consider the balance that should exist between the parties in the contract. It also denies the theory of “mutual obligation” which should exist in any relationship, not just in a contract.
Players come into the league getting paid a comparatively small amount of money to perform with the same expectations as others. This is understandable. They are young professionals who have yet to prove themselves on the big stage. For this reason, the player bears the initial risk. He gets paid at a lower rate although he may prove his value to be higher. But what happens if the player exceeds all expectations? That’s when the risk shifts.
When a player out performs his contract, he builds a performance equity. Performance equity is the performance value of a player which exceeds the contract value. The best time for this equity to be realized it’s after the rookie contract. It symbolizes a balance between the team and the player, or a shift in risk to give the player what he has proven to earn despite the future. Parties can negotiate how to realize the performance equity, but it must be done to truly show value to the players in the league.
No team or party has ever come out to say that the pay in a new contract includes back pay for the gap between the pay a player received and the level of pay to match his previous performance value. But that is what should be considered in each contract negotiation, including Dak Prescott’s. Dak performed, under high pressure, and kept calm throughout. He asked for a fair price in the previous negotiation, but the team ignored him. He wanted a true showing of appreciation from the team while also cashing out on his performance equity. Dallas dropped the ball, franchise tagged him, and expected him to forfeit his equity. Dak had to stand his ground and insist to be paid his true value, which includes past performances.
The deal has a signing bonus of $66 million, an NFL record. The deal also allows Dak to earn $75 million in year number one, turning eventual income to actual income much faster than in most long term (we are calling 4 years long term) deals. Considering the total guaranteed money included, this balances out the risks and value not realized in a rookie contract. It also reflects the market which Dallas allowed to be set before making a deal with Dak.
For those Cowboy fans, if you can still call yourself a fan while opposing to pay one of your players what they have earned, don’t stress it too much. The deal is a relatively short term deal with a lot of the contract coming of the books early on. The team can move forward rather quickly if things don’t work out instead of having to burden a heavy salary for 10 years. Are you really worried about an organization that has the money and isn’t worried much about you? I wonder, do you carry these same concerns for your employer when discussing your salary?