Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. And sure, while he’s yet to be given a long-term contract extension, I think most of us would agree that it’s coming soon enough. Any inference that the team should go another direction and find a replacement is just nonsensical. If you happened watch last week’s NBC Sports re-airing of Tony Romo’s first ever career start, then you might have noticed this graphic.
Romo would go on to start 126 more games for the Cowboys, but when he wasn’t available - things didn’t go so well for Dallas. For example:
2008 - Romo missed three games, Cowboys finished 9-7 and missed playoffs
2010 - Romo missed 10 games, Cowboys finished 6-10 and missed playoffs
2013 - Romo missed the regular-season finale, Cowboys finished 8-8 and missed playoffs
2015 - Romo missed 12 games, Cowboys lost 11 of those games and finished 4-12
Things were also looking a little frightful in 2016 when Romo suffered a back injury in preseason that would sideline him half the year. Thankfully, rookie Dak Prescott filled in so well that it earned him the starting quarterback position even when Romo healed up. While it was sad to see Romo’s career end that way, the Cowboys were fortunate to have such a quality replacement on the roster. Just looking at that graphic above, younger fans may never know how lucky they are to seamlessly go from Romo to Prescott without having to endure those miserable seasons of not having a good quarterback.
Having a quality backup quarterback is important. The Cowboys have a roster that should enable them to be competitive for the next several seasons, but how much of that would change if Prescott suddenly went down with an injury? Could Cooper Rush step up and keep things going? And even if he could, Rush is only under contract for one more season.
So, when we hear things like the Cowboys are interviewing Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Hurts could be in the mix as a possible draft selection by Dallas later this month. When this news broke, some fans might be interpreting this the wrong way.
Cowboys really about draft Jalen Hurts and do release Dak next year. That’s cold lmao— Grumps ™️ (@Jaydr___) April 4, 2020
That’s cold, indeed. It’s also wrong. That’s not happening.
Then, there are some that think this is just some type of negotiating tactic by Jerry Jones to make Prescott nervous.
That seems like a bit of reach as well.
While the interest in Hurts isn’t because they Cowboys are looking to replace Dak or pressure him into taking less money, that doesn’t mean he’s not a legit draft target. For starters, Hurts isn’t likely to be a guy who’s going to be a part of that first-round craziness that may include some expensive draft capital being moved around to secure their services. Joe Burrows, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love should come off the board rather early. Instead, Hurts would more likely go somewhere around round three. If the Cowboys have interest, they wouldn’t have to surrender a top draft resource.
Dallas could simply just go about their draft like they normally would, but if it got to a point where Hurts became a great value, then pull the trigger. This is the same logic they had with Connor McGovern, who may have appeared to be a wasteful draft resource a year ago, but nobody is thinking that now after the recent retirement of Travis Frederick.
A player like Hurts is a good quarterback to develop while Prescott continues to run the show in Dallas. The hope is that should his number be eventually called, he would be up to the task in helping the Cowboys win football games. Our own Cole Patterson points out that the comparisons to Prescott are plentiful. We know how great of a value Dak was on Day 3 in 2016, and if a team has a chance to grab a high upside player for a vaue price, why not do it? Even though New England had Tom Brady at quarterback, that didn’t stop them from drafting Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett. Granted, they never ended up needing those guys as Brady turned out to play into his forties, but they were still able to trade them away for draft capital. Insurance, with a future return - that’s not a bad deal.
So, should the Cowboys go after Jalen Hurts? If they like what they see in him and he falls far enough, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Should they take him over any of the starting caliber corners or wide receivers from this draft class? Nope, but if it gets to a point where those choices are gone and you have a player like Hurts still available, he shouldn’t be overlooked just because Prescott is this team’s quarterback of the future.