As a flurry of last-minute extensions were agreed upon last week, there was one deal conspicuous in its absence — the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott were unable to agree to a long-term extension, leaving him to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. This is being portrayed largely as a failing of the Cowboys to get a deal done with their star quarterback — and if the snag was indeed haggling over one extra year in the contract, it is a fair criticism — but I think, instead, this situation could end up being in the best interests of everybody concerned.
[Editor’s Note: PFF’s advanced statistics and player grades are powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.]
The Dallas Cowboys
On the surface, failing to lock up your franchise quarterback seems like a bad move with little in the way of positive spin, but not all franchise quarterbacks are created equal. Quarterback analysis is a complicated endeavor, one that cannot be done in a vacuum. Supporting cast affects quarterback play just as quarterback play can affect supporting cast, and the relationship isn’t always the same for every player.
PFF data has shown how paramount the quarterback position is in today’s NFL and has also helped us develop a pretty solid understanding of how much a supporting cast can influence the guy under center, and to what extent it can explain or be responsible for his production.
This becomes critical in Dallas when it comes to Dak Prescott. Four years into his career, we can be pretty certain he isn’t a transcendent talent like Patrick Mahomes, but we know he is solid at his worst and very good at his best. We have also seen a very tight correlation between the level of his supporting cast and how well he has played.