Throughout the 2020 NFL offseason, one story has provided more controversy than any other: Dak Prescott’s contract talks. It is hard to ignore the opinions formulated on the signal-caller of America’s Team’s payday.
After reports surfaced that Prescott was looking to receive around $45 million in the fifth year of his contract, even fans of his own team were outraged. The question quickly came to fruition; How much is Prescott really worth? Well, it’s time to try and answer that question.
Before investigating Dak’s worth, a comparison of quarterback contracts is needed. Here is a list of quarterback’s annual pay.
|1.||$35 million||Russell Wilson||Seahawks|
|2.||$34 million||Ben Roethlisberger||Steelers|
|T3.||$33.5 million||Jared Goff||Rams|
|T3.||$33.5 million||Aaron Rodgers||Packers|
|5.||$33 million||Kirk Cousins||Vikings|
|6.||$32 million||Carson Wentz||Eagles|
|7.||$31.4 million (tag)||Dak Prescott||Cowboys|
Why is Prescott asking for so much?
As shown above, Russell Wilson has the highest yearly pay of all quarterbacks in the NFL. Of course, this would naturally lead to saying that Wilson is the best quarterback in the league. Although this can definitely be argued, there are some quarterbacks in Baltimore and Kansas City that might have something different to say. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes may have not had their payday yet, but it is sure to break the $35 million ceiling.
With that being said, it is uncertain where the quarterback market will be in the next few years. So, what’s to say that Prescott can’t break the ceiling now? Notice that two other 2016 drafted quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are on the list above. If they had just waited to sign a long-term deal, there is a possibility that they would be in the same situation as Prescott. Would they be getting the same criticism?
The answer is of course they would. To compare these quarterbacks to the likes of Wilson is laughable. But, the quarterback market is going to continue to move upward. Just three years ago, Derek Carr signed a $25 million per year contract, which was the highest salary in NFL history. Now, $25 million a year for a franchise quarterback would be a steal. Signing the highest paid deal does not necessarily mean being the best anymore, it means planning for growth of the market.
How Much is Prescott Asking For?
There has been some confusion on the contract that Prescott has requested. According to reports that surfaced just last week, Prescott and his team were asking for “north of $45 million” in the fifth year of his contract. Cowboys Insider and ESPN reporter, Ed Werder, put those rumors to rest on Friday during ESPN’s Get Up.
“I believe the Cowboys have offered Dak Prescott something approaching five years, $35 million per year deal.” He continued, “Prescott’s representation has adamantly denied to me that they proposed $45 million for a fifth year.”
The floating number around the negotiations at the moment is around $35 million. The disagreement seems to be whether the contract last four years, like Prescott wants, or five years, like Jerry Jones wants.
As of now, reports have said that the Cowboys offered a five-year deal that would put the quarterback’s pay just under Russell Wilson’s $35 million.
Is Prescott Worth $35 Million per Year?
Prescott had a stellar 2019 season when it came to stats. However, those stats were cut short due to finishing the season 8-8. The quarterback completed 388 passes for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions.
Although these stats may be impressive, Prescott had arguably the best supporting cast that a quarterback could ask for. With All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, two 1,000+ yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, Prescott had all the pieces to create a great season. Still, the Cowboys were not able to make the playoffs.
Prescott has shown that he has the potential to win a championship, but he has to be in the right situation. Unlike the highest-paid quarterback Wilson, Prescott cannot overcome bad situations. For that reason, Prescott is not worth $35 million per year from a skills perspective.
However, the market is bound to increase in the next few years. If the Cowboys sign Prescott to a five-year deal like they want to, then it could save them money long-term, even if the contract is worth almost $35 million per year. After quarterbacks such as DeShaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes sign extensions, $35 million per year will seem like a good fit for Prescott.
As of now, Prescott has been offered a franchise tag worth $31.4 million. He has yet to sign the tender. The quarterback and the Cowboys have until July 15 to come to an agreement on an extension. If there is no deal by then, Prescott will have to play on the franchise tag.