Why Dak Prescott was the best quarterback in the NFL in 2018
By Richard Ball
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was the best quarterback value in the NFL last year. Here’s why.
There are two ways to evaluate performance in the NFL. The first is to only look at the play on the field or absolute performance. The second combines play on the field with the size of the pay check or relative performance.
Clearly Dak Prescott’s absolute performance was not the best in the NFL in 2018. He ranked 15th in passing yards, 11th in completion percentage, 16th in touchdown passes, 18th in yards per attempt and the most important metric 8th in wins. These rankings indicate an average quarterback.
However, his relative performance tells a different story. He ranked 2nd in passing yards, 1st in completion percentage, 2nd in touchdown passes, 2nd in yards per attempt and 1st in wins factoring his salary cap hit.
This is why Dak Prescott was the best quarterback value in the NFL in 2018. Absolute performance is what we see. Relative performance provides a better representation of the players value.
Prescott’s contract provided the Cowboys with a significant competitive advantage. Unfortunately, the Dallas Front Office squandered the advantage by still paying big money for players no longer on the team, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Dallas had the second highest amount of dead money in 2018.
The Cowboys and Prescott’s representatives have started negotiating Prescott’s next contract. This contract, in my opinion, is the single biggest decision that Dallas will make in the next few years.
The size of this contract will determine how realistic a Super Bowl with Dak Prescott at quarterback will be for the team. The chances of winning the Super Bowl will go down the higher Prescott’s salary.
The salary cap levels the playing field. Each team is given the same amount of resource to build their roster.
Maybe New England was lucky that their quarterback is not the breadwinner in his family. Or maybe they were lucky that their quarterback is smarter than most. Tom Brady was recently on the Jimmy Kimmel show and had this to say about his pay:
"“I’m a little smarter than you think. Actually, it’s a salary cap. You can only spend so much and the more that one guy gets is less for others. And for a competitive advantage standpoint, I like to get a lot of good players around me.”"
It doesn’t matter that Brady married Gisele Bundchen. Brady has made, according to Spotrac, more than $212 million in his career through the 2018 season.
By the time Brady was 30, he had made $50 million. By 35 he had more than $100 million. Somewhere around 2008, when he was 31, he decided that winning was more important than money because he realized he has enough money.
Dak Prescott is in a different spot than Brady as he is not married to a world-famous super model and he has only earned $2.7 million in his career. However, this contract will push him past the point where Brady realized that he had enough money and he valued winning more.
At a minimum, Dak will have a five-year, $100 million contract. As a 25-year old, he likely can’t see the wisdom in strategically taking less money in his contract so that the front office can surround him with a lot of good players.
Earlier this year, Dak Prescott foolishly cited Gisele Bundchen as the reason he won’t give a hometown discount. Dallas Cowboys fans can only hope he has become a lot wiser.