Pay The Man! What’s The Hold Up?

Dak Prescott is playing in the last year of a four-year $160 million contract he signed in 2021. Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have yet to reach an agreement meaning there is a possibility this could be the Last Dance. It is believed Prescott will get a contract extension but the idea of him flirting with free agency could be a nightmare for the Cowboys.

Last season he was the MVP runner-up after an impressive 2023 campaign. He threw for 36 touchdowns, and nine interceptions and had career career-high 105.9 QBR. As a starter, he’s done nothing but help the organization win. He’s 73-41 in his career as a starter and has won four NFC East titles. Jerry Jones needs to rip the band off and pay the man. What’s the hold-up?

What’s The Hold Up? Pay The Man!


The Quarterback Market

Jared Goff has rearranged the quarterback market with his contract extension which could be good news for Prescott. Goff received a four-year $212 million contract that includes $170 million guaranteed. That makes him the second-highest-paid quarterback behind Joe Burrow. Goff’s extension could be the determining factor for what Prescott’s extensions could look like.

In mid-April, Prescott stated he wasn’t looking to reset the market or become the highest-paid quarterback. Now he’ll be looking for his salary to be around $53-$55 million which would be in the range of Goff and Burrow’s salary. As of now, Prescott is currently tied with Daniel Jones and Matthew Stafford as the 11th highest-paid quarterback in terms of contract details.

As of now, Prescott will be betting on himself during the 2024 season. ” I’m a gambling man. I’ll gamble on myself and my guys” Prescott said while discussing his contract situation. The last time the Joneses and Prescott were in this position, it resulted in Prescott getting his payday. He was playing the 2020 season on a “prove it deal”, however, he suffered a season-ending injury. The Cowboys looked so disoriented without him which forced the Joneses to pay him and that deal has worked out for both sides. Both the Joneses and Prescott want to get a deal done, it’s only a matter of time of when it will happen.

A Look At The First Seven

Prescott has a 2-5 playoff record and the narrative is he’s a “playoff choker”, however, that narrative is more opinionated than factual. Through his first seven playoff games, he’s thrown for 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 91.8 QBR. He hasn’t played lights out but he’s played well enough for his team to win. In three of those seven games, the defense gave up 30+ points, and in the other two losses Dallas had either been flat, out-coached, or very undisciplined.

The lackluster performances from the team shouldn’t come down on just the quarterback and many other quarterbacks have shown playoff success is reliant on the team not just one guy. Prescott has faced tons of scrutiny from the media and fans for the playoffs hiccups but he deserves grace. Here’s how a few others who are considered Hall of Famers performed in their first seven playoff games:

  • Ben Roethlisberger: 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with an 85.1 QBR. The Pittsburgh Steelers went 5-2 in those first seven games. During that span, Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl with a stat line of 9 for 21 and two interceptions.
  • Brett Favre: 13 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 91.1 QBR. The Green Bay Packers were 4-3 in the span and reached an NFC Championship.
  • Philip Rivers: eight touchdowns and nine interceptions with a 79.2 QBR. The San Diego Chargers were 2-5 in the first seven games and reached an AFC Championship game.
  • Peyton Manning: 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 92.6 QBR. The Indianapolis Colts had a 3-4 record in his first seven games and reached an AFC Championship game.
  • Eli Manning: eight touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 77.6 QBR. The New York Giants were 4-3 in that span and won a Super Bowl.

All five of those quarterbacks reached at least a Conference Championship game throughout the first seven games while two won a Super Bowl. It wasn’t necessarily their outstanding quarterback play that got them there either.

Rings Aren’t Everything

Some people believe the Cowboys and Prescott should part ways because of the playoff shortcomings. However, they ignore that he’s a key reason they’re in the playoffs each season. He has a lot of time to rewrite the narrative and lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl. Drew Brees didn’t win his first Super Bowl until his ninth season in the NFL. There is no reason to give up on your quarterback who’s proven he’s one of the best in the league.

A quarterback’s success and legacy are graded on Super Bowl wins which makes postseason success a bit misleading. If that’s the case there’s bad news for guys such as Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Donovan McNabb who never won a Super Bowl.  Meanwhile, guys like Trent Dilfer, Nick Foles, and Jim Plunkett have all won Super Bowls. Does that make their careers better than Marino’s, Kelly’s, and McNabb’s? Or do we see how Super Bowl wins could be deceiving?

Pay The Man

Besides Prescott not having enough playoffs and Super Bowl wins to the liking of the media and some fans, which again doesn’t fall solely on the quarterback, what other reasons are there that Prescott shouldn’t get paid? He’s a three-time Pro Bowler, has won four division titles, has led the Cowboys to the playoffs five times, and just finished second in MVP voting.

The organization needs to pay Prescott, take care of the remaining looming extensions such as CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons, and continue to push toward winning another Super Bowl. They’re continuously at the doorstep and letting him walk would be a terrible decision especially since you won’t find much better from the available quarterbacks. Giving Trey Lance the keys or drafting a quarterback for low-cost options doesn’t guarantee the same success Prescott has brought and could come back to hurt.

For the Cowboys fans hoping that Prescott is gone after this season be careful what you wish for. He’s been a gem for the organization and the Cowboys are guaranteed to be competitive as long as he’s healthy.  Look back at the years between 2000-2005 when the team shuffled through 10 quarterbacks before landing Tony Romo in 2006. It isn’t guaranteed they’ll find a successor who instantly becomes successful. There’s a possibility the next few years of Cowboys football could look very similar to that early 2000s stretch if Prescott walks.

Main Image: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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