Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl quarterback
Dak Prescott has said all the right things as extension negotiations drag on between the two sides.
? Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
It appears Prescott is now done playing nice. The impending free agent laid into the Cowboys on Thursday over the contract negotiations, seemingly calling the team out in the process.
“You would hope and you would think something is going to get done, right,” Prescott said Thursday, via David Moore of Dallas News . “I mean, you would have thought something would have gotten done before the season. In my brain, it only says that it gets done. Without the tag.”
This is the issue. Dallas holds the right to place the dreaded franchise tag on Prescott. That value is expected to come in at about $27 million, much less guaranteed cash than what he would earn on a long-term deal.
”I don’t think any of that is necessary,” Prescott continued. “But that’s business. That’s all calculated. That’s all on them.”
It’s obvious Prescott is placing the ball in Dallas’ court heading into the offseason. And while the
Cowboys’ brass remains confident, these negotiations started long before Week 1 of the 2019 season.
When asked if he planned on working out at The Star in Dallas this offseason without a long-term deal, Prescott did not mince words in saying he’d be absent. “Report that,” Prescott uttered. “Be sure to report that.”
Things seem to be growing contentious on this front. Cooler sides could prevail with a deal ahead of free agency in March. At this point, that does not look to be in the cards.
Related slideshow: The names to know for Super Bowl LIV (Provided by Yardbarker)
The names to know for Super Bowl LIV
The quarterbacks and coaches will receive plenty of attention in Miami, but several players did the most to help the Chiefs and 49ers get to this stage. Here are the top names to know for the 54th edition of the NFL's ultimate game.
Chiefs: Andy Reid, head coach
Among the greatest coaches yet to win a Super Bowl, Reid has been instrumental in shaping the Chiefs' march to this stage for the first time in 50 years. After a 2-14 2012 season, the Chiefs hired Reid and made six of the next seven playoff brackets. Their Reid-Patrick Mahomes partnership has changed the AFC, and it is hard to envision the superstar quarterback rising to the level he has without Reid's innovations. With one of the modern NFL's premier playcallers steering this ship, the Chiefs' offense has been difficult to contain during an eight-game win streak. The 21-year coach has a prime opportunity here.
49ers: Kyle Shanahan, head coach
The second-generation coach joins Reid as an elite playcaller and schemer. Shanahan does not possess the luxury Reid has, with Jimmy Garoppolo not on Mahomes' tier. But the former Super Bowl coordinator has led the 49ers back to February football, helping Garoppolo by assembling a punishing ground attack and giving his quarterback exploitable matchups. Second in rushing offense and eighth in offensive DVOA, the 49ers boast a remarkably reloaded roster compared to the years in between Jim Harbaugh and Shanahan. The architect of the 2016 Falcons Super Bowl offense, Shanahan also will be eager to redeem himself.
Chiefs: Steve Spagnuolo, defensive coordinator
Brought in after predecessor Bob Sutton's unit could not support Mahomes last season, Spagnuolo endured a rough start. The Chiefs became only the fourth 21st century team to allow 180-plus rushing yards in four straight games. But the former Giants defensive coordinator and Rams head coach has overseen much improved stretch-run work. Spagnuolo's defense helped the Chiefs go on a 51-7 run in the divisional round and limited Derrick Henry to minus-1 yard from scrimmage after halftime in the AFC title game.
49ers: Robert Saleh, defensive coordinator
Retained after the 2018 49ers defense ranked 28th, Saleh has his current defense operating in high gear. Five teams have carried a better pass-defense DVOA figure into a Super Bowl this century; all of them won. The fiery third-year coordinator has used his chess pieces well up front, has overseen Richard Sherman's ascent back to a perch as a top-tier cornerback and has seen Nos. 2 and 3 corners K'Waun Williams and Emmanuel Moseley, respectively, round out a balanced secondary. The Chiefs, however, pose a bigger problem than the Vikings or Packers did.
Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback
Off to one of the greatest starts to a career of anyone in NFL history, Mahomes is a nightmare assignment for any opponent. Carrying a career 11-0 TD-INT ratio into Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs quarterback has shown off his overlooked scrambling ability. The reigning MVP almost mandates QB-spy treatment while being the league's most dangerous thrower, gaining 53 yards in each of the Chiefs' two playoff wins. Mahomes has led the Chiefs to at least 31 points in each of his four playoff games and is working with both a constantly innovating coach and an elite weaponry cadre.
49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback
While his 6-of-8 NFC championship game showing has drawn scrutiny, Garoppolo has been plenty effective this season without the amenities Mahomes has. In his first full season as a starter, the two-time Super Bowl backup threw 27 touchdown passes and nearly hit 4,000 yards. Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes on three occasions, including a comeback win in the Superdome, and finished 12th in 2019 QBR. Garoppolo immediately ignited the 49ers upon arriving in 2017 and has proved worthy of future years as the 49ers starter. But his 208 playoff passing yards will generate skepticism going into his biggest game.
49ers: Raheem Mostert, running back
One of this Super Bowl's best stories, Mostert has thrived since receiving his opportunity. Mostert, who totaled zero carries for any of the six teams that cut him between 2015-18, averaged a non-Lamar Jackson-best 5.6 yards per carry in the playoffs and is at 6.8 in the playoffs. Resembling zone-blocking legends Terrell Davis or Clinton Portis in a 220-yard, four-TD NFC title game, Mostert possesses advantages of freshness (137 regular-season carries), a top-flight scheme and in-game support. With Matt Breida and likely Tevin Coleman set to supplement him, Mostert will have a great chance for another big game.
Chiefs: Damien Williams, running back
While the Chiefs have not come close to replacing Kareem Hunt, Williams has sporadically shown he's capable of complementing Mahomes. Williams averaged 4.5 yards per carry (on just 111 totes) this season and now has eight touchdowns in four career playoff starts. The ex-Dolphins third-stringer also averaged an NFL-best 3.2 yards after contact per attempt this season and joins Mostert in an unlikely Super Bowl running back matchup. Williams has also shown game-breaking ability via 84- and 91-yard TD runs and should not have to face many stacked boxes given Mahomes' presence.
49ers: Tevin Coleman, running back
The 49ers' run-game rotation has morphed from Coleman-Breida going into Week 1 to Breida-Mostert after Coleman's high-ankle sprain. Going into the playoffs, the 49ers used a Coleman-Mostert look. For Super Bowl LIV, Mostert figures to be the lead dog. But Coleman is trending toward playing through a dislocated shoulder. He has both a four-touchdown game (against Carolina) and a 100-plus-yard playoff performance (against Minnesota). One of three explosive 49er ball carriers, Coleman still profiles as someone to monitor despite his recent injury.
Chiefs: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver
As the NFL's fastest player, Hill is talented enough that the Chiefs stood by him despite another batch of ugly off-field trouble. Hill's speed would have him on most nations' Olympic teams, and it opens up the field for Chiefs teammates. By forcing defenses to often commit multiple players to cover him, Hill allows Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Co. to see better matchups. Kansas City's two-time 1,000-yard receiver often does work from the slot, so it will be interesting to see how San Francisco handles him with Richard Sherman mostly serving as a boundary cornerback.
49ers: Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver
Immediately forming a rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo, Sanders gave the 49ers a vital weapon after a midseason trade. This will be Sanders' third Super Bowl; he was a Steelers backup as a rookie and led the Broncos in receiving as a Super Bowl 50 starter. Versatile enough to work in the slot and outside, Sanders also frequently makes tough grabs over the middle. The 32-year-old wideout caught seven passes for 157 yards in the Saints shootout, and in addition to amassing 502 in 10 regular-season 49ers games, the veteran's presence has helped Deebo Samuel progress as a rookie.
Chiefs: Sammy Watkins, wide receiver
Watkins will never live up to the $16 million-per-year contract the Chiefs gave him, but he has been an important role cog. The former No. 4 overall pick's 1,192 yards in two Chiefs seasons trail Travis Kelce's 2019 total, and Watkins is prone to injuries and off-radar games. But he has come up big at critical times for the Chiefs. He posted 114 yards in each of the past two AFC championship games, hurting Bill Belichick's eliminate-Hill defense and scoring on a 60-yard pass to bury the Titans. In what could be his last game as a Chief, Watkins is very much a factor.
49ers: Deebo Samuel, wide receiver
One of several early producers out of the 2019 receiver draft class, Samuel has proved pivotal with the ball in his hands. The second-round pick's 473 yards after catch ranked fifth among wideouts this season, and the 49ers have used that elusiveness in the run game as well. Samuel has at least 20 rushing yards in five of the 49ers' past seven games, scoring on two such handoffs. He teams with Sanders to form a deceptively potent receiving corps.
Chiefs: Travis Kelce, tight end
Super Bowl LIV's most consistent receiving threat, Kelce is on a Hall of Fame trajectory. His 6,465 receiving yards are the most ever through a tight end's first seven seasons. Kelce did that in six seasons, catching no passes in just one game as a rookie. Putting he and Tyreek Hill in the same offense places incredible pressure on a defense. Kelce torched the Texans for three touchdowns, consistently winning his matchup to help the Chiefs erase a 24-point deficit. He is the NFL's toughest cover among tight ends.
49ers: George Kittle, tight end
Kittle, however, is the more complete player; Pro Football Focus graded him as this season's best. A mauler in the run game, Kittle's blocking sequences populate social media after 49ers games. He has been a key component in San Francisco's dominant ground attack. However, the two-time Pro Bowler is on the verge of becoming the NFL's highest-paid tight end because of his receiving skills. As evidenced by his Gronk-ian effort to lift the 49ers past the Saints — in a game that decided NFC home-field advantage — Kittle is an elite receiver. His 2,945 yards are a tight end-most through three seasons.
Chiefs: Eric Fisher, left tackle
Fisher had the benefit and misfortune of being the No. 1 pick in a disappointing draft. The 2013 top pick has drawn criticism for his draft slot while benefiting financially. He also has been a constant for the Chiefs throughout their Mahomes and Alex Smith eras. His value can partially be traced to simple numbers this season. The Chiefs are 10-0 with him but went 4-4 without him. Fisher missed eight games because of core muscle surgery but returned to help the Chiefs begin their eight-game win streak. He will be tasked at times with blocking ex-teammate Dee Ford and rookie phenom Nick Bosa.
49ers: Joe Staley, left tackle
Among active non-quarterbacks, Staley has started more games with the team that drafted him than anyone besides Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten. He missed nine games this season due to multiple injuries but played a key role in the San Francisco run game's January dominance. The six-time Pro Bowler has been one of the NFL's best linemen for over a decade, doing well to help the Alex Smith- and Colin Kaepernick-driven attacks of the Jim Harbaugh years. Staley will often line up against a familiar opponent in Frank Clark on Sunday.
Chiefs: Mitchell Schwartz, right tackle
Schwartz is annually one of the game's more underappreciated players. Pro Bowl voters usually ignore right tackles, so arguably the game's top right tackle has no such honors in eight seasons. But the 2018 All-Pro has been a key Chief since his 2016 signing. Regularly winning matchups, the ex-Brown has helped Patrick Mahomes' ascent. Schwartz did not allow a sack this season and enters Super Bowl LIV as, by far, this game's top-graded tackle. While Bosa and Arik Armstead will be formidable adversaries, Schwartz (he of zero missed games in eight years) is a more proven stalwart than either.
49ers: Nick Bosa, defensive end
Bosa has been the most noticeable variable on a 49ers defensive line that went from unmemorable to transcendent in a year's time. The No. 2 overall pick is the Defensive Rookie of the Year favorite and added three sacks to his regular-season resume (nine) in the playoffs. Used on both sides of the formation as a rookie, Bosa beat both Vikings tackles for sacks in Round 2. The Ohio State product is one of the best pass rushers to enter the league in years. How he fares against Fisher and Schwartz will be critical toward determining a champion.
Chiefs: Frank Clark, defensive end
After an injury-slowed start had Clark on pace for a disappointing Chiefs debut, the 2019 trade acquisition reemerged. Clark tallied only 14 quarterback hits in the regular season — a steep drop from his 27 in 2018 — and finished with eight sacks. But his four playoff sacks (three against the Texans) give him 11 in his past 10 games. He will face high-end tackle opposition in Staley and right tackle Mike McGlinchey, with the Chiefs also using their best edge rusher on both sides. But Clark's surge is a major reason for the Chiefs' sudden defensive reliability.
49ers: Arik Armstead, defensive end
One of the season's top breakout players, Armstead is on the verge of cashing in via 49ers franchise tag or in free agency. On Sunday, however, his versatility will be vital. The 6-foot-7 Armstead morphed from injured and ineffective ex-first-rounder to a player capable of beating tackles and guards to quarterbacks with regularity. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Armstead has a 49ers-best 15 sacks (six more than his first four seasons combined). He is also an elite run defender, grading fourth in that discipline in the view of PFF.
Chiefs: Chris Jones, defensive tackle
While the 49ers house the superior defensive line, Jones may be Super Bowl LIV's best pass rusher. The fourth-year defensive tackle holds the NFL record for sacks in 11 straight games —- which he did in 2018 — and gives the Chiefs a menacing interior presence. The contract-year inside dynamo has 10 sacks this season and will be critical against the 49ers' outside-zone run scheme. However, the calf injury Jones suffered in a late-season practice kept him out of the Chiefs' divisional-round game and limited him against the Titans. How close to his top-tier version will Jones be in Miami?
49ers: DeForest Buckner, defensive tackle
The only member of the 49ers' Gold Rush defensive line force that consistently rushes from the inside, Buckner has been the most consistent of the 49ers' holdover D-linemen, living up to his draft status in a way Armstead and Solomon Thomas have not. The fourth-year defensive tackle has 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this season. With the Chiefs employing lesser names on their interior O-line, the 49ers' inside rushers winning their matchups will be quite important.
49ers: Fred Warner, linebacker
Despite being in his second season, Warner is the 49ers' defensive signal-caller and played nearly every snap. Warner's 118 tackles led the 49ers by far during the regular season. The 2018 third-round pick has been the 49ers' starting middle linebacker in every game of his career, and his presence allowed San Francisco's defense to remain near top form after the midseason loss of Kwon Alexander. This is the nerve center of an ultra-athletic defense; Warner will be mentioned frequently Sunday night.
Chiefs: Charvarius Ward, cornerback
The Chiefs have big contracts or players on the verge of them at every defensive position but cornerback. While the Chiefs had a glaring need at at that spot after last season, and lost Steven Nelson in free agency, they turned to a low-level trade acquisition to play a key role. Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller are bigger names; Ward has enjoyed the better season. A 2018 undrafted free agent acquired from the Cowboys last year, Ward is a first-time 16-game starter and has played nearly every defensive snap.
49ers: Richard Sherman, cornerback
But the 49ers hold the clear cornerback advantage. Sherman probably solidified his Hall of Fame case this season, resurfacing as a Pro Bowl-caliber stopper after two down seasons stemming from a torn Achilles. The media go-to in the buildups to the Seahawks' two 2010s Super Bowls, Sherman earned second-team All-Pro recognition this season and is the anchor of the 49ers' secondary. The five-time Pro Bowler's presence with the 49ers has never been more important, with the Chiefs' Legion of Zoom passing attack capable of running teams off the field.
Chiefs: Tyrann Mathieu, safety
Tom Brady torched the Chiefs secondary in last season's AFC championship game. This and Dee Ford's gaffe kept Kansas City out of Super Bowl LIII. Mathieu has provided the biggest difference between that embattled coverage corps and this one, which produced DVOA's No. 6 pass defense this season. The Honey Badger returned to first-team All-Pro status, completing a climb back from his 2018 Cardinals release and mid-market Texans contract. He has been a do-it-all defender in Kansas City, collecting four interceptions and spearheading a defense that entered November with major questions.
49ers: Jimmie Ward, safety
One of the few links to the Jim Harbaugh regime left on the roster, Ward went from constantly vacillating between cornerback and safety to seeing his fifth-year option season end in injury last year. But the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan operation brought him back on a one-year deal and kept him at safety. The continuity, and perhaps a shot a big 2020 contract, helped Ward. He has been one of the league's top safeties this season, rating as PFF's No. 6 safety — the highest grade of any 49er or Chief at this position.
Chiefs: Harrison Butker, kicker
Including Butker here may be a stretch, but he does kick for a Super Bowl team. Said team, however, has rarely needed him for field goals lately. The Chiefs have 11 touchdowns and one field goal in the playoffs. But Butker led the league with 34 field goals (on 38 attempts). Since being signed off the Panthers' practice squad during the 2017 season, Butker has been one of the better kickers in the game. His game-winner against the Vikings this season led to the Chiefs securing a first-round bye.
49ers: Robbie Gould, kicker
Gould was nearly automatic from 2017-18, going 72-of-75 in that span. This season the veteran kicker has been a bit less reliable. Gould made 23 of 31 attempts, including the game-winner in New Orleans that gave San Francisco the NFC's top seed. Gould missed time due to injury this season, and one of those games resulted in the 49ers losing in overtime on a no-chance field goal try from replacement Chase McLaughlin. A 15th-year veteran, Gould has the 49ers in good shape in Florida.