It is starting to seem more and more like the landscape of the NFL is going to change more this offseason than it has in any one in recent memory. The Dallas Cowboys don’t necessarily have their hands in a lot of would-be cookie jars, but they do have one pressing treat that they need to decide on. As you well know, the Cowboys have an opportunity for the third straight offseason to sign quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term deal.
It would be very wise of the team to take care of Dak. The situation that they have created revolving around the quarterback is one that could have long-term ramifications on the chemistry of the team, a notion that Emmitt Smith agreed with when he joined BTB last week. Establishing the Cowboys future around Prescott is the best overall plan, but the possibility certainly exists that the Cowboys will not do that.
They have to be prepared for that.
The Cowboys need to have a Dak Prescott plan or another legitimate plan
March and July, the latter specifically, will bring significant points of no return for the Cowboys and Prescott. If they reach the middle of the summer with their quarterback on the franchise tag past the deadline, then they are shouting from the rooftops that this is the last season in which Dak will be under center for them. The franchise tag value in 2022 ($54.4M) is astronomical and one that would lead to his departure like Kirk Cousins in Washington.
There are a number of places that the Cowboys could choose to spend their first-round pick, ESPN’s latest mock has them investing in the secondary, but if they are forecasting a potential future without Dak Prescott, then quarterback has to be on the table. Todd Archer discussed this idea on Wednesday and the mothership’s David Helman summarized the idea very well in a tweet. It would be reckless of the Cowboys to not at least consider it if negotiations with Dak are looking southbound.
It’s not Todd’s job to get Dak under contract.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) February 10, 2021
If Dak isn’t signed by April and they *aren’t* at least considering QBs, it’d be a criminal level of negligence on their part. https://t.co/wh1m3h6lr5
Helman’s use of the word “critical” could not be more accurate. You will remember that there was no legitimate contingency in place behind Tony Romo five years ago and that the Cowboys wound up stumbling into the very quarterback whom they are at a standstill with.
Drafting a quarterback is hardly a full-proof strategy as our own Tom Ryle recently discussed, but even if you were to be dramatic and assign it a success rate between 5-10%, is that not greater than zero?
Planning for all scenarios is the best possible way of planning
2021 marks the highest that the Cowboys will draft in the first round (10th overall) since the draft that brought them Dak Prescott. It is possible that a handful of signal-callers go before they are on the clock, but they should be in range to draft someone that certainly has legitimate NFL potential.
The Cowboys have generally drafted well at the top of their hauls in recent memory and it makes sense that they would do all of the homework necessary. Remember that last year their first reported virtual interview was actually with a quarterback, then Oklahoma’s and now Philadelphia Eagles starter (?!) Jalen Hurts.
A lot of the makeup of the quarterback position across the league is going to be determined by the offseason that we are forecasting to be wild and filled with trades. Some have suggested including Dak Prescott in the frenzy of it all, but unlike others that have been thrown out in hypotheticals, he isn’t tradeable at the moment or in the near future. He would have to sign the franchise tag in order to make that happen which is hardly a slam dunk of a proposition. As Jerry Jones has already said this offseason, he holds all of the leverage.
“I don’t know how you can have any more leverage. ... His evolving into a quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture. He has great ability in my mind to win games. He has all the things. You would not be offering Dak what we offered in the past if he wasn’t very special.”
The Cowboys will likely do their homework on all of the prospects that could make sense at number 10 overall. It is silly to believe that they wouldn’t.
It might be more important than ever, though. Of course the Cowboys could render a lot of that moot with a deal for Dak, but such has been the case for a long time now.
Maybe the third time is the charm.