The Dallas Cowboys might’ve made a colossal error by paying Ezekiel Elliott instead of Dak Prescott.
Entering Wednesday, NFL players slapped with the franchise tag for the 2020 season had until 4 p.m. ET to reach an agreement with their respective team on a contract extension.
Many eyes were focused on the Dallas Cowboys (as they usually are) to see if the self-proclaimed “America’s Team” could finalize a deal with quarterback Dak Prescott.
Both parties waited until the 11th hour to finalize a deal, but couldn’t make the deadline. That means the Cowboys will have to go down this similar murky path next year. Looking at it now, the Cowboys definitely paid the wrong star. And by star, we mean Ezekiel Elliott.
Securing your quarterback should be priority for an NFL team, not running back
Any football fan knows how important it is to have a quality quarterback starting under center. How many great NFL teams have we seen fall short of expectations due to their signal caller? Too many! But, the Cowboys failed to learn from those past mistakes.
Instead, they opted to hand a ridiculous amount of money to running back Ezekiel Elliott last year. This is no knock on Elliott, who’s one of the game’s better rushers. But dedicating $90 million over six years to Elliott isn’t ideal, especially since running backs witness a decline in production a lot quicker than other position players.
Sure, he can accumulate over 1,000 yards on the ground, but that won’t last for long, given that he’s facing players that get stronger and faster on an annual basis.
On the flip side, the career of a quarterback lasts a lot longer.
Prescott’s future with Cowboys is now in flux
In 2016, the Cowboys saw Tony Romo suffered a soon to be career-ending back injury in preseason action against the Seattle Seahawks.
Luckily for them, owner Jerry Jones and his front office selected Prescott out of Mississippi State in the fourth round of that year’s NFL Draft. Prescott rose to the occasion in his first year, where he helped lead the Cowboys to the NFC East Championship and clinched the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Even in the years when the Cowboys didn’t make the playoffs, Prescott was a solid passer. Take last season for instance. Through 16 games, Prescott completed 65.1% of his passes for 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. That stat-line alone makes the Cowboys’ failure to successfully negotiate a contract extension that much more confusing.
While Wednesday’s last minute offer was pretty pricey, that number is going to increase astronomically next year, especially if Prescott has a successful 2020 season. Sure, they can place the franchise tag on him again, but it will cost them $38 million in 2021. If not, they’ll have to enter a bidding war with quarterback-needy teams and potentially lose Prescott for good.
You had one job, Cowboys, and you blew it by choosing Elliott over Prescott.