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Dak Prescott vs. Jared Goff is an interesting debate

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The comparisons between the 2016 QB class will always happen.

Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When it comes to the subject of Dak Prescott, there is unquestionably a lot of debate.

Many Cowboys fans debate with one another as to Prescott’s strengths/weaknesses and successes/failures. There are plenty of Cowboys fans who feel that Prescott hasn’t been up to par and isn’t deserving of a long-term deal, but there are also many who support the franchise quarterback.

Moving past our own fanbase, there are those that have made the mistake in life with their choice to support the Philadelphia Eagles that argue against Prescott in favor of Carson Wentz. Their quarterback is the one that just got paid and who’s future is now cemented with his team, plus he has a Super Bowl ring (however you want to qualify that).

There is a third sector of people who tend to argue against Dak Prescott, though. These are the supporters of the Los Angeles Rams. While Wentz was taken second overall, Jared Goff went first in 2016 and was selected 134 picks ahead of Prescott, and that has tied the two together forever.

Carson Wentz may have a Super Bowl ring in his house, but Jared Goff has at least played in a Super Bowl. With the former under contract for the foreseeable future, the latter and our own quarterback are among the next to get paid, and this puts the fanbases in the same boat.

This is a subject of extreme fascination so Joe McAtee from SB Nation’s Turf Show Times and I got together for an episode of The Ocho to discuss it all. We got into which of the two quarterbacks is better as of now (Joe’s answer might surprise you), what it would be like had they played their careers in the opposite place, and what the futures of the two could look like.

The Ocho on the Blogging The Boys podcast network

Joe was also kind enough to drop some thoughts for us to read as well, particularly about the subject of what the world would look like had Prescott been in Los Angeles with Goff in Dallas these last three years. It’s interesting to wonder where the Cowboys would be as a franchise.

Recently, I tweeted out the idea of the thought exercise of taking Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and having them switch places going back to 2016. How would they have performed over the last three years given the supporting cast around them on offense and the coaching inputs? How would the media have framed their successes and struggles?

It’s certainly difficult to pin down any certainties in a hypothetical like this. Would Goff have gotten off to such a horrible start? Would Prescott have seen his career limp through Year 1 under Jeff Fisher? And how would he have slingshotted into Year 2 under Sean McVay? How would Goff have responded to the adversity the Cowboys faced in 2017?

Early into last season, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell looked at the idea of teams trading their successful young quarterbacks to reload at the position through the draft to keep the cap impact depressed. The Rams and Goff were the first team in his sights leading to an outbreak of “System QB” catcalls being thrown Goff’s way. So it can be very difficult to isolate how much of a quarterback’s performance is on them individually and how much is a product of their environment.

The one thing I’d point out that could swing the balance? The Rams’ offensive line. The line play was fantastic in 2018 and Goff thrived as a result. Moreover, he was horrible under pressure. And I don’t mean that in general. He was significantly worse than his peers in the same kind of pressured situations. So it might be the case that Goff is one of those kinds of quarterbacks who can outperform the mean when allowed to manage the play and can underperform when hurried. If that’s the case, the Rams’ line has a ton of weight to bear moving forward having already moved on from their starting left guard and center with left tackle Andrew Whitworth set to retire after this season.

Obviously with Dak not being afforded a fifth-year option on his contract, you guys are a year in front of us on contract negotiations. So perhaps it’s going to be on y’all to provide some clarity on the contract front. In terms of a Freaky Friday-type switch, I suppose we’re going to have to live with uncertainty.

It does seem like Prescott will get paid before Goff does, but until Dak has the same sort of postseason success people will wonder why he belongs in the conversation. The reality is that Prescott, Goff, and even Wentz are all very good quarterbacks and deciphering which is the best among them is something that doesn’t have a universal answer.

We try to find one anyway!