Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott reportedly turned down a $35 million per year salary and supposedly is seeking upwards of $45 million per year. While Jerry Jones is far from my favorite person, I am one to give credit where credit is due. Signing former Bengals QB Andy Dalton this offseason was a solid move and gives Jerry leverage in contract negotiations with Dak.
The Cowboys led the league in team total offense in 2019. Thanks to Mr. Jones, they drafted CeeDee Lamb, arguably the best receiver in the draft, to add to its plethora of offensive weapons. With the likes of receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Ceedee Lamb paired with the playmaking abilities of RB Ezekiel Elliot, this Cowboys offense is going to put up points no matter who is under center. This is where Dak should take the money and not leave anything to chance.
Say what you want about Andy Dalton, but he has been an above average NFL QB for the last decade. While the past couple seasons his production has dropped, I’d contribute that to a lackluster offensive line and a useless group of receivers other than A.J. Green. However, Green has been plagued by injuries the past couple years which hasn’t eased the burden on Dalton. Is Andy Dalton better than Dak? No. But I do think he can come in and produce relatively similar numbers for about a 1/8th of the cost.
In 2017, Ezekiel Elliot was suspended 6 games by the NFL. In his absence, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith combined for over 800 rushing yards and 4.5 yards per carry (YPC). When Zeke got back he was able to put up nearly 1,000 yards rushing and a 4.1 YPC in 10 games. While there’s no doubt Zeke is the better RB of the 3, the takeaway was that anyone could run behind that vaunted Cowboy offensive line. I imagine a similar scenario playing out if Andy Dalton took over the reins of the Cowboys offense. Cooper, Gallup and Lamb are going to make any QB look good and it doesn’t take superior athleticism to hand the ball off to Zeke. Dalton doesn’t possess Dak’s running ability, but he can still make the necessary throws to get the ball to those playmaking receivers.
Even if a deal does not get done before July 15, Dak will still suit up for the Cowboys in 2020. The Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on him in March so he will make at least $31.4 million this year. If Dak doesn’t put up astronomical numbers and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs this year, Jerry should let him walk in free agency and take his chances with Dalton. The cards are aligned for Dak to be a front runner in the MVP discussion as the Cowboys’ offense should have no trouble putting points on the board. If he can’t get the job done, then it’s time to find someone who can.
There’s no denying Dak is a great QB who is the perfect candidate to be the face of America’s team. However, is he worth the steep price tag he is reportedly seeking? The Cowboys’ offense has the talent to make a star QB out of anyone so only time will tell if Dak is the right man for the job.