Franchise Tag for Dak
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The Dallas Cowboys have placed the franchise tag of their 4-year starting quarterback Dak Prescott. The 26-year-old 4th round pick is coming off what appears to be a career year. The 2016 rookie of the year and 2-time Pro Bowler has reportedly been offered upwards of $33 million annually and $106 million guaranteed by the Cowboys. However, the length of the contract remains to be the issue. The Cowboys reportedly want a longer-term contract that lasts into the new CBA deal, whereas Prescott would prefer a shorter contract so that he can re-hit the market under the new CBA. The new CBA deal will expand the postseason by two teams, see the NFL eventually add another week onto the regular season and increase player revenue, hence, players salaries will rise and if Dak can hit the market again he will be looking at a big money contract.
Prescott’s 2019 season was by far his best statistical season to date. Dak ranked 2nd in passing yards as well as 4th in touchdowns and QBR. Despite Dak’s career year the Cowboys finished 8-8 their worst record with Prescott under centre. Whilst Dak’s throwing yards and touchdowns are those of an elite quarterback they mask flaws in Prescott’s year. Prior to 2019 Prescott was tied first with Matthew Stafford among quarterbacks since 2016 in game winning drives with 13. However, in 2019 Prescott’s signature clutch ability was non-existent with Prescott leading the cowboys on no game winning drives. Further, most of Prescott’s yards and touchdowns were empty calories. The Cowboys consistently fell behind at the beginning of games taking their elite run game out of the picture forcing Dak to drop back 331 times when behind compared to 171 when ahead. Dak threw 2703 yards, 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions when playing from behind with a completion rate of 62.2% whereas when playing in a tied game Prescott threw for 594 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions meaning in tight game situations Dak under performed but when playing from behind he threw it all over the park but not at a efficient rate since he only completed 62.2% of those passes, hence, the empty calorie yards.
Despite the flaws in Prescott’s season his success throughout his 4-year career is undeniable. The Cowboys won 30 games in 4 years along with 2 NFC East Championships. Prescott is tied for 3rd since 2016 amongst all quarterbacks in winning as well as 2nd in QBR and 1st in quarterback rushing touchdowns since 2016. Although Prescott has his flaws, intangibles and leadership are traits not many quarterbacks possess let alone at the level Prescott’s. He has also performed as a consistent professional on and off the field, Prescott truly is the perfect face of a franchise, especially “America’s Team”. Whilst Prescott has been painted as the villain demanding “out of this world” money, it is in fact in my view the Cowboys who have treated Dak wrong. Whilst the Rams and Eagles have already extended Jared Goff and Carson Wentz who were both first round picks making first round money, Dak was playing on his fourth-round contract and outplayed both Goff and Wentz in their first 4 years.
Ultimately, the issue is money and not Dak’s play. However, the quarterback market is different to any other position. Jimmy Garoppolo makes $27 million annually and despite making the Super Bowl in 2019 he is widely viewed as an average to good quarterback. Ryan Tannehill just signed a 4-year deal paying him $29.5 million annually after one good year being carried to the AFC Championship by Derrick Henry, and Jared Goff earns $33 million annually and without his 2018 Super Bowl run and offensive genius in Sean McVay he was perceived to be a bust. The buy in to the quarterback market is a minimum of $27 million, and that is for an average quarterback, for a good quarterback which I believe Dak is at the least your looking at least $32 million similar to Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins. Most often average quarterbacks do not win a super bowl, but I believe you can win one with a good quarterback surrounded by the right pieces. The Cowboys are loaded with talent and if $32 million is the starting price for a good quarterback I believe Dak Prescott is worth the $6 million premium.