Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins contracts drop Dak Prescott’s franchise tender

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott lost plenty of money the last two days, regardless of the performance of the stock market.

New contracts for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will drop the value of the exclusive franchise tender at Prescott’s position, taking dollars out of his tender for 2020 and, absent a long-term deal, 2021.

The exclusive tender comes from the average of the five-highest paid players at the position in the current year, based on cap numbers calculated at the deadline for extending offers to restricted free agents, in mid-April. Before Monday, the five highest quarterback cap numbers for 2020 belonged to Rams quarterback Jared Goff ($36 million), Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ($33.5 million), Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ($31 million), Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ($31 million), and 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($26.6 million). That amounted to an average of $31.62 million.

On Monday, Cousins signed a new deal that dropped his 2020 cap number to $21 million. On Tuesday, word emerged of a new Roethlisberger deal that, per a source with knowledge of the deal, reduces his cap number by $9.75 million.

The Steelers converted $7 million of Roethlisberger’s $8.5 million salary to a signing bonus, along with all of his $12.5 million roster bonus. With two years left under contract, that pushes half of the $7.5 million and half of the $12.5 million into 2021. That’s $9.75 million in cap space, dropping his cap number for 2020 from $33.5 million to $23.75 million. (His 2021 cap number is now $41.25 million.)

So now the five highest quarterback cap numbers belong to Rams quarterback Jared Goff ($36 million), Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ($31 million), 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ($26.6 million), Colts quarterback Philip Rivers ($25 million), and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan ($24.175 million).

As a result, Prescott’s franchise tender has dropped, thanks to Cousins and Roethlisberger, from $31.62 million to $28.55 million. That’s more than $3 million lost — and it could go even lower if Goff and Wilson restructure their contracts.

The difference resonates into 2021. Under the prior exclusive tag, Prescott would have gotten $37.94 million (a 20 percent raise over his 2020 amount). Now, he’ll get $34.26 million in 2021.

Prescott’s franchise tag can’t drop below the non-exclusive tender of $26.824 million. And it could go higher if other quarterbacks end up with cap numbers in 2020 that would drive up the average of the top five.

Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins contracts drop Dak Prescott’s franchise tender originally appeared on Pro Football Talk