Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott puts on his helmet before...

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott puts on his helmet before an NFL football team practice in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Credit: AP/LM Otero

FRISCO, Texas — Dak Prescott felt disrespected four years ago during the long wait for his first big payday as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

The 2016 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year had been a bargain as a fourth-round draft pick, and played on the franchise tag before signing the $160 million, four-year contract that expires after this upcoming season.

This time, it's different, with talk of an extension, and no apparent progress at the start of offseason practices, two months before training camp in California.

Prescott doesn't feel disrespected, and doesn't lack patience.

“Understanding where I am, what my pay means to a team and to an organization, I don’t really take things personal,” Prescott said Wednesday. “Maybe in my first deal, maybe things were a little different than they are now. One, it’s my age and who I am, where I am in my life and I guess the fact that that first deal got done.”

Prescott, who will turn 31 during training camp, isn't the only significant contract question for Dallas this offseason. All-Pro receiver CeeDee Lamb is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and looking for that first big payday.

Lamb hasn't attended offseason work at the Cowboys' facility, and the next question is whether he reports for mandatory minicamp in two weeks.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes during an NFL...

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes during an NFL football team practice in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Credit: AP/LM Otero

Star pass rusher Micah Parsons also is absent, but under different circumstances. He's a year away from being in Lamb's situation, and has made a habit of training on his own. Coach Mike McCarthy said he believes Parsons will participate in offseason work next week.

Prescott hasn't missed any of the offseason. The three-time Pro Bowler is prepared to play out the contract. He counts $55 million against the salary cap this season, and will be a $40 million hit in dead money next year without a new contract.

The Cowboys can't trade Prescott without his approval, and can't put the franchise tag on him. He sounds as if he won't spend much time worrying about whether a deal gets done.

“I don’t play for money,” Prescott said. “Never have cared for it to be honest with you. Yeah, would give it up just to play this game. So I (leave) that to the business people to say what it’s worth what they’re supposed to give a quarterback of my play. A person of my play, leader of my play.”

Dallas is coming off three consecutive 12-5 playoff seasons, but is the first franchise to do that without reaching a conference championship game.

Prescott's struggles early in a shocking 48-32 wild-card loss at home to Green Bay in January linger in the minds of many, as the Cowboys' streak of not getting to an NFC title game reached 28 seasons.

Still, Prescott led the NFL in touchdown passes for the first time in his career with 36, partnering with Lamb to help his No. 1 receiver reach career bests in catches (an NFL-best 135), yards receiving (1,749) and touchdowns (12).

Prescott and Lamb get together away from the team facility occasionally, part of the reason Prescott isn't fretting over missed time on task with the Cowboys desperately seeking a postseason breakthrough.

“Obviously you’re gonna miss him, miss having him around,” Prescott said. “But I’ve been in this situation. Business is business. He’s got my support and pretty much everybody in this locker room. Hopefully he’ll get all his and everything he deserves and is worth.”

Parsons spent time with Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud in China and jumped in the ring with a sumo wrestler in Tokyo.

The 2021 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was courtside last weekend when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 at home to advance to the Western Conference finals.

McCarthy said Parsons was at the team's facility last week as well.

“He actually looks great,” McCarthy said of the two-time All-Pro. “He’s in excellent shape. So I know what he’s been doing, where he’s been doing it, so forth. He’s fully getting ready physically, but he’s been having one-on-one meetings as far as within the structure of our operation here in the offseason program. So he hasn’t missed anything as far as what’s been installed.”

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