Can Rams beat the clock against Cowboys market-setting contract for Prescott?

The LA Rams contract negotiations are suddenly a race against time. The team hopes to finalize any contract with QB Matthew Stafford before the Cowboys ink QB Dak Prescott to a market-setting deal.
Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys, Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys, Matthew Stafford / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Non-quarterback contracts are indeed setting new records

But even as eyebrows were raised over the value of the extension that the San Francisco 49ers were willing to spend on RB Christian McCaffrey, the Minnesota Vikings just dropped jaws everywhere with the amount of money that they were willing to put up to extend WR Justin Jefferson. Talk about a record-setting deal, this one is truly out there.

Why were the Vikings and Jefferson in such a rush to get a deal done?

The incentive of timing mattered to both the player and the team. If you expect a similar level of production, that may not be in store for the Vikings. After all, the team is transitioning from a wiley veteran QB in Kirk Cousins to a bit of a journeyman QB in Sam Darnold, coupled with rookie QB J.J. McCarthy.

For Jefferson, the incentive to do a deal now is glaringly obvious. His production will almost certainly take a hit when the guy throwing passes to him is either Darnold or McCarthy. When that happens, what type of leverage does he command in contract negotiations? Better to get a contract done now than wait for his receiving yards to take a drastic drop downwards.

For the Vikings, the urgency to do a deal now rests on the fact that by paying inexpensive quarterbacks, there is more money to doll out to other positions. Setting Justin Jefferson up with a lucrative contract now keeps him on the roster for years to come, and allows the team to insulate the offense against any downturn due to a new quarterback at the helm.

And in both cases, the new contracts in place instantly apply even more financial pressure on other NFL teams facing the need to get their own contract negotiations underway.