With the uncertainly surrounding Dak Prescott’s future, would the Dallas Cowboys be willing to sign someone like Jameis Winston as insurance?
The Dallas Cowboys clearly would like to make Dak Prescott their franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. The team used their exclusive franchise tag on Prescott earlier this offseason in order to retain the pending free agent.
Yet, Prescott has yet to sign that tag as the two sides continue to try to hash out the details of a long-term deal. Complicating matters is the possibility the fifth-year quarterback could elect to not participate in any offseason programs, virtual or not, until a new contract is agreed upon. And that’s problematic considering the Cowboys have a new head coach in Mike McCarthy.
Beyond Prescott, the only other quarterbacks currently on the roster in Dallas are Cooper Rush and Clayton Thorson. The two passers have a combined three passing attempts of regular-season experience. That lack of depth on the roster only provides more leverage for Prescott in negotiations.
Despite Prescott’s status being in limbo, the Cowboys are not expected to use any of their selections in the upcoming NFL draft on the quarterback position. And if they do, it would likely be on a late-round flier who wouldn’t pose any sort of threat to Prescott and his starting role.
Instead, there are some intriguing free agents still on the open market including former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston. Only 26-years old, Winston was the first overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida State. He’s started in a total of 70 games over the past five seasons, so he certainly has the experience the Cowboys lack.
Here’s what NFL.com Analyst Bucky Brooks wrote recently on the league’s official website when he named the Cowboys one of the best team fits for Winston.
"“Dak Prescott’s contract situation will eventually be resolved, but the Cowboys would be wise to add Winston to the roster as a valuable insurance policy against injury or an extended holdout … This would represent a win-win situation for the team and player, which makes it a situation worth considering for a franchise looking to vault into title contention in 2020.”"
McCarthy’s presence figures to boost Prescott’s abilities as the touted quarterback guru has worked with passing legends like Joe Montana, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers. But that kind of experience would certainly benefit Winston as well.
Unquestionably talented, Winston led the NFL in passing yards last season throwing for 5,109 yards through the air. He also posted a career-high 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Winston threw 30 interceptions, the highest in the league by nine picks.
Winston also comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage, some of which stems all the way back to college. And that’s likely a big reason why the former top draft pick remains unsigned. Yet, the Cowboys are known as a team that seems more willing than most to hand out second chances.
From the outside looking in, signing someone like Winston in Dallas doesn’t seem to make much sense. Yes, you’d have a viable backup for Prescott who could win you ball games if needed. And Winston’s presence might help hasten contract negotiations.
Yet, signing Jameis Winston to anything but a very team-friendly contract would seem unwise considering the Dallas Cowboys’ shrinking salary cap space which forced them to part ways with several key free agents recently. Then, one must also consider the added distraction a quarterback controversy could create on a team already under a massive media spotlight. Throw-in a ton of off-the-field concerns, and this is one move that’s hard to imagine the Cowboys making.