Would trading Dak Prescott help the Cowboys chances to win the Super Bowl. Or, would paying him a contract averaging more than $30 million get them closer?
Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes is also an above average quarterback. Only, his ceiling is higher than Prescott’s.
Mahomes and Prescott are due big raises from their rookie contracts this offseason. Rumor has it that Mahomes might command $40 million average per year on his new deal.
If $40 million is the ceiling for the QB market, how much is Dak Prescott worth. Prescott was offered at least $30 million by the Cowboys last offseason. He turned it down.
So you would expect Prescott to seek more than that this offseason given that he likely thinks he won the bet on himself 2019 season. NFL.com released their end of season quarterback ratings this week and the four person panel each rated Prescott as the 11th best quarterback in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus released their list of the top 101 players in 2019. Prescott came in 93rd place and was the 9th quarterback on the list.
Mahomes finished tied for first on one list and second on the other. So Mahomes has been independently assessed as a superior quarterback than Prescott and would be worthy of commanding the highest salary in the history of the NFL.
If you are the Dallas Cowboys, are you ready to pay $1 million to $10 million less per year for Prescott compared to what the Chiefs are planning on paying Mahomes? If you do, does that give your team a better chance at beating the Chiefs with Mahomes only making a few million more than Prescott?
Prescott has gone public with a statement that he will not hang around the Cowboys facility without a new long-term deal signed. Hey Dak – here is another story reporting your statement.
Is Prescott only posturing to create leverage? Or would he fulfill his promise and not take part in the offseason program if he is franchised tagged.
Right now, only Prescott and his representation know. But the Cowboys need to prepare as if he might or might not participate.
In the scenario where he does not participate, could Prescott wait until the start of the season to sign his new deal. Could he even wait until Week Ten to sign so he accrues a season for benefits or could he sit out the entire year?
Would the Cowboys be better served to sign Prescott to a non-exclusive franchise tag and allow other teams to offer Prescott a contract. The return would be at least two first round draft picks – likely more if the Cowboys threatened to match the deal unless an extra second round pick is included as a sweetener.
This strategy allows Prescott to determine what the market would pay for the services of a quarterback who finished second in passing yards but led his team to an 8-8 record. The pundits have spoken and said Prescott is not a top five quarterback now. Could he be in the future?
Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and even Carson Wentz all seem to have higher ceilings than Prescott. All but Wilson were first round picks. This doesn’t factor in Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees who were rated higher than Prescott on both lists and likely have a few good seasons left.
In this reality, Prescott is not likely to ever earn a top five quarterback salary which means he would consistently under perform his contract. That would not be helpful for the Cowboys to compete for the ultimate prize.
Allowing another team to sign Prescott on the non-exclusive franchise tag which effectively is the same as trading him, would give Dallas the ammunition to move up in the draft and take Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert assuming the Bengals take Joe Burrow. Nobel prize winning Economics Professor Richard Thaler declared that quarterbacks are the only NFL prospects worthwhile to pick in the top ten of the draft.
The question the Cowboys need to ponder is the fear of the unknown versus overpaying the incumbent. Which risk sets the team back more?
If you trust the Nobel prize-winning professor, then the answer is clear. Prescott at a top of the market salary is a bigger risk compared to drafting a quarterback (or even signing an average quarterback to an average quarterback contract) and using the cap savings on other players.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones often says he never won anything by playing it safe. Trading his above average quarterback might be the risk he needs to take to give his team a chance to win the Super Bowl.