Dallas Cowboys: Can Dak Prescott finally prove doubters wrong?

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stretches before a NFL preseason game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 24: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stretches before a NFL preseason game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Dak Prescott is a polarizing player for Dallas Cowboys fans. His next contract has been a source of much debate for his fans and detractors.

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks feels Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is one of five players that will prove doubters wrong in 2019. Cowboys fans certainly hope he is right and he has a career year.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is a polarizing player for America’s Team fans. He has won the second most regular season games over the past three years behind Tom Brady and yet he still misses wide open receivers.

On the second play of Saturday’s preseason game against Houston, Prescott had a seven-step drop, planted his right foot and fired a laser to wide receiver Michael Gallup. Only problem was Gallup, with about three yards of separation from Texans corner Johnathan Joseph, was five yards away from where Prescott delivered the football.

Could Gallup have made the wrong adjustment on his route – quite possible. Would an elite quarterback like Tom Brady or Drew Brees find a way to hit a wide-open receiver 19 yards downfield – most likely.

If this was an infrequent occurrence Prescott could be forgiven.  On the very next play, Gallup won his route and had inside position on the corner and Prescott sailed the ball just over Gallup’s outstretched hands.

For those that watched the All of Nothing series, who could forget the accuracy battles between Prescott and his coach, Jason Garrett. At the 1:33 mark of this clip, Garrett drops the ball in the laundry hamper and Prescott falls short.

Former Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman was critical of Prescott in the wake of a week five loss to the Texans in 2018. He said that Prescott needs more accuracy with the football.

Despite his accuracy issues, Prescott has guided the Cowboys to two division championships in his three years. Winning is truly the barometer that franchises use to measure success.

Prescott is a proven winner and a leader. When it is crunch time, he more times than not finds a way to win. Consequently, his teammates respect him as a leader.

As his significantly undervalued rookie contract comes to an end, the Cowboys find themselves in a difficult spot trying to determine Prescott’s value. Can Prescott overcome his obvious faults to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl?

Prescott’s next contract will be the most significant decision the Dallas Cowboys make in the next five years. In order to justify the contract, Prescott will need to elevate his game so that he can compensate for the players the Cowboys can no longer afford.

With a salary north of $30 million per year, Prescott will no longer have five first round talents on his offensive line. His defense likely can’t afford defensive tackle Maliek Collins and corner Byron Jones.

As a team, the Cowboys will have fewer good football players and as a result, the good ones, in particular Prescott who will soon be the highest paid Dallas Cowboy, will need to continue to have their performance exceed the value of their contract.

This is where the Prescott lovers and haters diverge. The lovers will steal Oakland Raiders former owner Al Davis famous line – just win baby. The haters will look to Pro Football Focus‘ quarterback ratings and show that Prescott has regressed each year:

  • 2016: 7th ranked with a grade of 83.7
  • 2017: 16th ranked with a grade of 80.5
  • 2018: 18th ranked with a grade of 74.6

For the record, I think paying Dak Prescott top 10 quarterback money will be a mistake. I don’t think he can raise the performance of the team and the Cowboys will miss the really good football players they will no longer be able to afford.

My recommendation knowing that Prescott and the Cowboys front office are not listening would be to cap his contract at 10 percent of the salary cap. I offer this olive branch knowing that only six times (Tom Brady twice, Peyton Manning twice, Steve Young and Eli Manning) in the twenty-five year history of the salary cap has a quarterback won the Super Bowl with a salary cap hit greater than 10 percent.

With quarterback salaries exploding, the Dallas Cowboys would have a competitive advantage with Prescott on a team friendly or strategically focused on winning contract. If Al Davis were alive today, he might change his quote to: Just win baby … at the right price.

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