Dak Prescott signed a contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys last year to the tune of four years and $160 million.
It made Dak the second-highest paid at his position (behind Patrick Mahomes) and gave the Cowboys one less thing to worry about for the foreseeable future.
At the time.
A lot has happened since Prescott put pen to paper. Aaron Rodgers signed an enormous deal with the Packers, Deshaun Watson got a fully guaranteed contract from the Browns and the Cardinals locked up Kyler Murray.
Those three deals - along with Josh Allen's last summer and Derek Carr's this past April - have bumped Prescott down the list considerably.
And while Dak said at the start of training camp he was “damn sure not paying attention” to the new deals, that doesn't mean ownership isn't taking notes.
"Obviously it’s going to be popping up again real quick because we went along with the shorter length,'' Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said at the start of camp.
"You pay attention to these all the time, and certainly we’re always going to be thinking about Dak and how he affects us from a salary cap standpoint ... he’s always in the back of our mind when you’re managing the salary cap with this football team.''
After missing most of 2020 with a dislocated ankle, Prescott had a career year in 2021, throwing for over 4,400 yards and 37 touchdowns.
The Cowboys went 12-5 and won the NFC East, but lost to the 49ers in the opening round of the playoffs.
Jerry Jones on Cowboys: 'Need to be viable in playoffs'
As always, Dallas enters this season with a ton of hype, plenty of talent, and, above all, immense pressure.
Longtime owner Jerry Jones, who turns 80 in a few months, said recently the team "needs to be viable in the playoffs for it to be a successful season," while head coach Mike McCarthy added that he believes Super Bowls are "won by the quarterback."
Prescott, meanwhile, has brushed everything aside - including contract speculation.
“I guess that (those) talks will have to happen in a private conversation,” Prescott said when asked if the team has approached him about another extension.
The Cowboys open the preseason Saturday night against the Denver Broncos.