News & Analysis

Why the Cowboys should be wary about giving Dak Prescott a record-setting deal

By Eric Eager and George Chahrouri
Jun 27, 2019
Dallas Cowboys

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The 2019 NFL season is quickly approaching, and while much of the offseason work is complete for all but a few of the teams in the NFL, there are still some difficult lingering decisions for some. The Dallas Cowboys, fresh off their second division title in three seasons, are in the process of deciding to extend quarterback Dak Prescott, who is going into the fourth and final year of his rookie deal. 

Prescott, a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, was the 10th-most valuable quarterback in the NFL as a rookie replacement for the injured Tony Romo, throwing just four interceptions and completing almost 68% of his passes while leading Dallas to a 13-3 season and home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. His value dropped off by about three-quarters of a win in 2017 and fell off a bit further still in 2018. The Cowboys remained a good team during both of those seasons, finishing 9-7 and 10-6 in 2017 and 2018, respectively, due in large part to a roster that has been built with some pretty solid draft picks over the last half-decade. 

In an offseason where we have approached the topic of quarterback pay more than any, the question of Prescott is the most interesting. The Cowboys have been very successful with him as the quarterback, but many will point to the running of Ezekiel Elliott, the play of their offensive line and the emergence of their defense as confounders regarding his success. Increasing his salary by a substantial amount alters those variables, and hence with it, the environment in which he’s been a decent starting quarterback in the past. Therefore, buying Prescott at the top of his market might yield a situation where you end up buying a completely different quarterback than you anticipated, further muddying the waters of that decision. 

Here, we discuss some of the narratives surrounding Prescott and his value moving forward.

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