Is Jerry Jones playing with fire? The Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager made the right pick four years ago when he chose quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round.
While NFL group-think says that you aren’t supposed to find a franchise quarterback past the first round, it appears Jones did just that.
But now the bill is coming due on making that choice, and Jones seemingly isn’t ready to pay.
Report: No progress made on extension
The Cowboys had their bye in Week 8, and on Sunday Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the team and Prescott’s representatives did not make progress on a long-term extension during that time.
Further, Prescott might be headed for the franchise tag in 2020, Rapoport reported.
As a fourth-round pick, Prescott’s rookie contract was for four years and expires in March. Because of the slotted system for draft-pick contracts, Prescott’s salary for this season is just $2.12 million — 44 quarterbacks are earning more this season, including Eli Manning and Andy Dalton, both benched for poor performance, and at least a handful of backup quarterbacks.
Prescott in midst of career season
With a half-season worth of starts under his belt this year, Prescott will very likely put up career numbers in several statistical categories.
He’s completing 69.6 percent of his passes for 8.7 yards per attempt, both of which would top his previous bests, from his rookie year. He’s thrown for 2,380 yards and 15 touchdowns; at his current pace he’ll far exceed his bests in those categories. Prescott has also been sacked just 10 times in eight games, a huge improvement over 56 sacks in 2018.
The one place he’s been less than stellar is interceptions — he currently has eight, though three of those came in Dallas’ Week 5 loss to Green Bay. His season high is 13 in 2017.
Based on Twitter, it seems not all Cowboys fans are in love with Prescott. But it’s hard to argue the team’s success since he’s been the starter: Dallas has been to the postseason in two of the past three years and is currently in position to make the playoffs again.
In the six seasons before Prescott was the starter, the Cowboys made the playoffs just once.
Is it all Prescott? No. Is he spoken of with the same excitement as other young quarterbacks, like Patrick Mahomes or maybe his 2016 draft classmates Jared Goff and Carson Wentz? Not usually.
But Jones has to know that it’s not easy to find a franchise quarterback, and he has one now. Whether he wants to pay Prescott the $32 million per year or so that’s becoming the going rate for starting quarterbacks is immaterial; the market is the market.
If Prescott is franchised, the predicted tag amount for quarterbacks in 2020 is currently $26.7 million, so Dallas will still be on the hook for a lot of money, with the risk of angering their starting quarterback.
It is possible that Jones has seen the list of veterans at the position who will likely be available come March and would rather have one of them for a couple of years.
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