The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott have been working on a long-term contract but the team may need to evaluate whether the quarterback is worth it.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft as a hopeful replacement after the conclusion of the Tony Romo era. Prescott’s rookie debut emerged sooner than anticipated as Romo suffered a compression fracture to the L1 vertebrae in his back during a preseason matchup against the Seahawks. This unfortunate circumstance propelled the 23-year-old rookie to start all 16 games in 2016.
As a rookie, Prescott led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record after completing 311 of 459 pass attempts (67.7 completion percentage) for 3,667 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions. On the ground, he ran 57 times for 282 yards and six touchdowns but fumbled the ball nine times in the process.
As a first-year starter after being forced into the fold before the team likely wanted to, Prescott showed the NFL and the Cowboys that he is an elite quarterback.
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Prescott added on to his personal legacy in 2019 after completed 65.1 percent of his throws for career highs of 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns along with 11 interceptions in an 8-8 season that is now the second time he and the Cowboys have missed the playoffs during his career.
Apart from his impressive throwing statistics, he commanded an embarrassing Dallas roster that was 2-6 against teams greater than or equal to a .500 record, while winning most of their games against teams below .500 at 6-2. Five of the Cowboys’ eight wins came from their division, beating the 9-7 Philadelphia Eagles, the 4-12 New York Giants (twice) and the 3-13 Washington Redskins (also twice).
In his four-year tenure in Dallas, Prescott has made it to the NFL Playoffs twice (2016 as a rookie and 2018). In his playoff career, he is 1-2 — never advancing past the Divisional Round, while completing 66 of 103 passes (64.1 completion percentage) for 794 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 95.7.
Dak Prescott is currently demanding a multi-year extension with the Dallas Cowboys that has an annual average value (AAV) of $40 million per year, which would effectively make him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
However, owner and general manager Jerry Jones remains stoic on these negotiations. His most recent offer reportedly had an AAV of $33 million with $105 million fully guaranteed — a contract that is as lucrative as it gets — but was turned away by the quarterback.
Now on the franchise tag, the Cowboys and Prescott have until July 15 to sign a multi-year extension before he is to be signed to a one-year deal via the tag with a value of $28.7 million for the 2020 season.
He has made it clear, though, that he will refuse to take part in OTAs until he is given the contract that he feels he deserves. However, we should look at the reasons why Dallas shouldn’t be eager to break the bank for Prescott at this point and why, perhaps, this could be his last season with the Cowboys.
All Swedish, No Finnish
Despite having impressive regular seasons that resulted in being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2018, along with being named the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Dak Prescott has not contributed anything towards the winning culture in Dallas.
With as dominant of an offense as the Cowboys have, you expect more than two NFC East titles and three playoff games. Allowing only 23 sacks and helping superstar running back Ezekiel Elliot average 4.8 yards per carry, the Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which provides Prescott plenty of time to throw to his elite targets such as his wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup — both of which totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in 2019.
Even with all of these weapons, Prescott has been unable to step up and play with what is given to him, as he ranks at No. 18 among all active quarterbacks in Game-Winning Drives with 14. If you were to place Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in this situation, would he be able to dominate with this roster?
The new head coach in the building, Super Bowl XLIV champion Mike McCarthy, aims to bring this elite team back into contending status after replacing Jason Garrett and he will make it to the playoffs with or without Prescott as the starting quarterback.
Know Your Place
While career stats of 15,778 yards, 97 touchdowns, 36 interceptions, a 65.8 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 97.0 are nothing to bat an eye at, it is nowhere near what it takes to be a quarterback who earns $40 million per year. The difference between Prescott and Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger is that the latter trio all have a Super Bowl title. Prescott has yet to make an NFC Championship appearance, let alone a Super Bowl.
He plays for a team that revolves around the run-game that will look to him in the event it no longer works. In those times, he still fails to prove his worth. He defeated only two teams in 2019 with a winning record despite having such a dominant roster.
If Prescott were playing for the New York Giants, would we still be having this conversation? If he were the starting quarterback for the Big Blue, would we still consider him one of the best passers in the NFL worthy of a contract with an AAV of $40 million?
What happens in the regular season is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to the playoffs, and there is nobody who understands this more than Jerry Jones. So while Prescott protests and refuses to take part in OTAs and other team events, he loses his leverage and makes himself look like the clown as the Cowboys could win with or without him in the fold.
One thing is for certain: Jones always gets what he wants in the end because he is the face of the Dallas Cowboys franchise.
Setting Good Examples
In the midst of the recent lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has been required to stay in isolation until further notice. Prescott, on the other hand, decided that there is no better time than now to throw a party with the friends at his house and is currently engaged with the police for the affair.
This is not an ideal look for someone who wants to be taken seriously and wants to be the face of the NFL as the highest-paid quarterback in the league. This does paint the picture, however, of a kid who gets his hand caught in the cookie jar but still expects a cookie after being caught.
Jerry Jones is starting to look more and more like a genius as he neglected to sign Prescott to an extension before and during the 2019 season — a move that frustrated fans and analysts everywhere. This move instead revealed that Jerry saw something that everyone else was missing and it’s that Dak Prescott is not capable of having such an elite status in the NFL.
Not only does Prescott look like a fool to the organization and the fans but he also sets a horrible example to the public as he flaunts that just because he is a professional athlete, he is exempt from the quarantine.
This time of year in 2021, the Dallas Cowboys will either have inked Dak Prescott to a contract on their terms or he is going to be in a new city still proving whether or not he is valued as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.