The Cowboys aren’t in a hurry to re-sign Ezekiel Elliott, but Jerry Jones does seem anxious to overpay Dak Prescott in the near future.
Dak Prescott is an above average starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s certainly a player the Cowboys should be working hard to lock down for the long haul. That does not mean Jerry Jones and company should pay him like a superstar.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, that seems to be exactly where things are headed. Recent reports emanating from Dallas claim that negotiations between the team and Prescott currently center around a new deal that would pay him $30 million per season. That sort of contract isn’t going to cripple the Cowboys for years to come, but it is more than they should be shelling out for their starting quarterback.
To put Prescott’s potential new deal in context, an average annual value of $30 million would tie him with Matt Ryan as the fourth highest paid quarterback in the NFL. There’s no logical argument to be made that Prescott is one of the five best signal callers in football. He’s been good for the Cowboys, but he certainly hasn’t been great.
Proponents of the new deal will correctly point out that most quarterbacks look to be overpaid when they sign new contracts. That’s the nature of compensating players who thrive at the game’s most important position. To some degree that’s correct. Prescott’s contract will likely become less onerous when more of his peers sign deals in the next season or two.
That doesn’t justify overpaying Prescott in the short-term. There’s no reason the Cowboys should feel compelled to give him a deal north of what guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins have signed in recent years. They should be using those quarterbacks as comparables for Prescott instead of the likes of Ryan and Aaron Rodgers.
The most concerning criticism of Prescott is the fact that he hasn’t been able to pilot the Cowboys to any meaningful playoff success. His current record of 1-2 in the postseason illustrates just how far away from greatness he’s been during his Dallas career. He may not have been surrounded by big-time talent during a lot of his inure with the Cowboys, but quarterbacks compensated like superstars should elevate their teams when it matters the most. To date, Prescott hasn’t done that. That’s why the Cowboys are poised to give him a deal he doesn’t quite deserve.