By Mike Has
My apologies to the Dallas Cowgirls (my Philadelphia Eagles fandom will not allow any other nickname) fans, I thought you got the memo that it was 2020.
One thing for certain, 2 things for sure we can count on misguide Dallas fans to revert back to past Super Bowl glory in any discussion about current team success or lack there of. Dallas fans took great pleasure in making fun of Carson Wentz’ injury history and the selection of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL draft as some sort of validation that Wentz is not the anointed savior for the Eagles future.
Well that boomerang has come home to roost with the signing of Andy Dalton by Dallas. Dallas has been at a contract impasse with Dak Prescott who Dallas fans will point to his availability as to why he is a better quarterback than Wentz but nothing further. Prescott, if rumors are true, has not displayed a reason to be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, the best argument for him to do so is that “it is his turn” to have a bite at the apple That is sure a fire way to maintain the mediocrity status Dallas has been in for the last 2 decades.
Trust me, I want Dallas to sign Prescott long term and make him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL for selfish reasons, but the eye test says he is not the best quarterback in the league or worthy of such a contract. Dallas fans are blinded by their fandom that they cannot see that empty numbers do not equate to validation. He has lead an offense that has gone from a record of 13-3 in his rookie year to 9-7, 10-6 and this past year 8-8. The team under his leadership is on a downward trajectory. Now, I know the quarterback gets most of the credit and all of the blame in the outcome of games unfairly, but in the results business, he is coming up short.
“Number 1 offense” I heard, “almost 5,000 yards passing” they say. If you are playing fantasy football those stats may win you your league title, but in the NFL those numbers are filled with win totals that are not reflective of such numbers. With a running back of Ezekiel Elliot’s talent and a wide receiver that they hoped to be their missing piece in Amari Cooper, the end results have been lackluster. They have shown their commitment to these 2 players as well as others with new contracts that place them in the higher echelon at their positions. If availability is the greatest ability what is the hangup with Prescott?
I can tell you, he is not deserving of contract in upper echelon on the quarterback market. To hammer home this point let’s look at it this way, the NFC South will throw out Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Teddy Bridgewater as starting quarterbacks in the division. Bridgewater is the only quarterback you could argue in Prescott’s favor that he is better than, I would not.
We venture to the NFC North with Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford. Nope, nope, nope and nope. Rodgers and Foles have Super Bowl MVP’s on their resume, Cousins’ win totals, although minimal, have increased the last 3 years and Stafford playing with inferior talent has had to shoulder a heavier load and prior to his season ending injury he was on pace for his 2nd 5,000 yard and 40 touchdown season.
Next we go to the NFC West with Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyler Murray. We can move immediately pass Wilson and his stellar career thus far. Goff and Garoppolo are 2 of the main reasons people argue for Prescott to have a contract in their range if not superior. Goff has 6 more wins since 2017 and made it to the Super Bowl. Two things of note about the 6 more wins, in 2017 week 17, Goff did not play since he could not improve his teams playoff seedings and Prescott played against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who rested most of their starters, Prescott won the game, so that 6 win advantage for Goff could be an 8 game win advantage. The last image of Garoppolo was not one that showed confidence by his coach by going to a run heavy offense in the playoffs this past year, but he did lead them to the Super Bowl as well. Garoppolo has 2 injury shortened years on his resume, the first after a 5-0 start his first year as a San Francisco 49er. Murray coming off of his rookie campaign is not deserving as of right now to be place ahead of Prescott especially since he is on his rookie contract.
We shall end the comparisons with the NFC East with rookies Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins on their 1st contracts it is unfair to compare them to Prescott as well. Which leaves Prescott supporters their main reason for justification of a top tier contract, Carson Wentz. Wentz’ well documented injury past seems to be brought up in justification for Prescott receiving a superior contract, not his superior ability to Wentz. Their week 16 matchup with a playoff spot on the line, Prescott could not engineer 1 single touchdown drive, which is a microcosm of the difference between the 2 quarterbacks. With an injury depleted team and the season on the line, Wentz came thru. Wentz play down the stretch of the season with a new and unproven receiving corp showed his ability to do heavy lifting that Prescott has not shown. In what was universally called the worst division in the league, Dallas would not have qualified for the playoffs as a 7th seed under this years playoff format.
Wentz’ season ended in the Wildcard round of the playoffs this past year by a cheap shot to the back of his head while sliding, somehow this makes him injury prone. It is what it is, but 2 plays from 2017 showed me enough about Wentz to want him on my team. The play his acl was torn on was a touchdown run by him that was called back due to a penalty, he stayed in the game and subsequently threw a touchdown pass before calling it a season. His MVP caliber play up until that point plus his toughness is what most teams desire and validated him being the 2nd pick in the draft.
However you wish to frame the narrative, just because Team X pays quarterback Z 30 million dollars, that does not justify you getting paid the same. In the NFC alone you have 8 Super Bowl quarterbacks, 4 Super Bowl MVP’s, 3 MVP’s and 2 quarterbacks that may have been MVP’s if not for Peyton Manning’s 50 touchdown MVP season (Foles) and Wentz tearing his acl. Even if you do not agree with my assessment that he is around the 12th best quarterback in the conference, I would like to know if winning is the goal, how can you think of him much higher?
I will not breakdown the AFC like I did the NFC but will just point out, the last 2 MVP’s Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes reside their as well as DeShaun Watson.
This is not a bash Prescott narrative, he is by all means an NFL quarterback, there are however 12 quarterbacks in his conference and at least 3 in the AFC that are arguably better than him and who I would much rather hitch my wagon to. Plus, there is 1 former MVP still looming in free agency looking for a home. What I would prefer not to see is Cam Newton line up behind center in Dallas, there is no question that would be an immediate upgrade at the position, his mobility and rocket arm fit in line with Mike McCarthy’s offense with the Green Bay Packers on how they used Rodgers ability to extend plays and utilizing the vertical threat. Newton’s health is an unknown at the present but it would be a gamble worth taking especially when you consider the 2 destinations that have come up the most for quarterback landing spots the most this offseason, New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.
If the Patriots did not make Tom Brady the highest paid quarterback, would they do so for Prescott? The Jaguars have been a disappointment since making the AFC Championship game 2 years ago with their constant roster turnover, this is not an attractive destination since there is no commitment to winning. Which would leave 1 very intriguing team for Prescott to possibly land if his tag is rescinded. The Cleveland Browns, his addition would be an immediate improvement over Baker Mayfield and this scenario would improve 2 teams.
Trust me, the last thing I want to do is help Dallas improve, but the signing of Newton makes too much sense. Even if he is not healthy enough to start the season, Andy Dalton is more than capable of leading the team until such time. But, I am counting on Dallas to continue to do the wrong thing. Since Dallas drafted Troy Aikman with the first pick in the 1989 NFL draft, every team in their division has made a commitment to the most important position in sports by drafting at least 2 quarterbacks in the first round. It has helped the New York Giants to 2 titles and the Eagles to 2 appearances and 1 title.
Quincy Carter 2nd round in 2001 is the only quarterback drafted higher than the 3rd round since Aikman, so you see Dallas fans, you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray. Shopping in the bargain bin for a quarterback has finally caught up to Dallas, they like to buy low on quarterbacks instead of identifying a guy early to turn their franchise around and you foolishly eat it up and have no recent success in large part due to it (feel free to post your legally old enough to drink trophies here).
Stephen Jones has come out recently to say that Dallas does not want to tie a large portion of their cap in their quarterback because teams as such do not win Super Bowls. Well for the last 4 years Prescott has been among the lowest paid starting quarterbacks in the league and that has not resulted in a Conference Championship appearance let alone a Super Bowl. This is not news to the Jones’, but that statement would lead 1 to believe that the outwardly confidence expressed in Prescott is not the same behind closed doors. All of the blame is not on Prescott, Dallas’ management may look at recent teams and their success with quarterbacks on their rookie contracts from Seattle, Los Angeles Rams and the Eagles as reasoning for not paying him more but they fail to look at the largest mistake they made, holding on to Jason Garrett and their General Manager to long.
After Dallas went 6-10 in 2010, 1-5 in games Tony Romo started, they followed that up with 3 successive 8-8 seasons followed by 12-4 in 2014 and 4-12 in 2015. At no point did they value a signal caller to replace a lackluster Romo, a new coach or GM. Instead of drafting Elliott in 2016 they should have valued the quarterback position like the Rams and Eagles did. That’s spilled milk, so moving forward they need a quarterback that can shoulder (no pun intended) a heavier load such as Newton. A McCarthy lead team with Prescott does not strike fear in me since he did not maximize the abilities of Rodgers for more than 1 Super Bowl appearance.
There will be a compensatory pick for Prescott so it would not be all lost if they rescind his tag, otherwise overpay him like a top 1-5 talent that he is not and continue to hold on to glory days of the 90’s and beyond.
The drafting of Hurts proves the Eagles not only have the foresight to strengthen a position of need but also means they have drafted two quarterbacks on their roster higher than Dallas has in almost 20 years. The problem is more with ownership than with Prescott in not valuing the position, I hope they prove me wrong and pay Prescott a contract that makes him the highest paid quarterback in the league even though I fell he doesn’t deserve it!
There you have it, my Dallas dilemma. Now, what say you? I want to hear how crazy I am or how right I am. Send me your feedback, keep it clean. I’m the only one that can get dog dirty here.