The Cincinnati Bengals decided to interrupt the first game of the 2023 NFL season when they announced a record-breaking contract with franchise QB Joe Burrow. Burrow signed a five-year, $275 million contract extension with the team, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history. Burrow is guaranteed roughly $219 million, with an average annual salary of $55 million.
The deal makes sense for the Bengals, as they keep the quarterback who brought them to the Super Bowl in 2022. Despite their loss, it was the first time Cincinnati had made the Super Bowl since 1989.
While the news made waves across social media, many Dallas Cowboys fans gave their thoughts on what this means for their own quarterback. Many fans chastised the Cowboys for not getting Dak Prescott’s deal done first, with the market always rising. Prescott has two years remaining on his four-year, $160 million deal he signed with the team back in 2021. Prescott currently carries a cap hit of $26.8 million for this season, while having a cap hit of $59.45 million in 2024.
Cowboys fans and analysts made the point that it would be smart for the Cowboys to sign Prescott to an extension this offseason for several reasons. The most obvious reason being that he is an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season. A team needs a quarterback to be successful in the NFL, and Prescott has proven to be an above average quarterback in the league. Secondly, if the Cowboys were to get a long-term deal done with Prescott, they could significantly reduce his cap hit next season.
The Dallas Cowboys are actually being wise to wait before committing more years and money towards Prescott. Prescott is facing the most pressure this year that he has faced his entire career. He currently has the best supporting cast of his career, giving an impatient fanbase hope for a Super Bowl. It’s also been evident that Prescott has fallen short several times in the playoffs, failing to take the Cowboys past the divisional round throughout his career. While not every playoff loss has been solely on Prescott, it is very fair to say if Prescott had played better last season against the 49ers, the team would have advanced to the NFC Championship game.
Head coach Mike McCarthy and Prescott have a good thing going in the regular season. They are coming off back-to-back seasons of 12 wins. This is an extremely difficult thing to do in a league where things are constantly happening that are out of your own control. However, let’s consider the hypothetical that the team manages to have another 12-win season in 2023, while still failing to reach the conference championship game. Something would inevitably have to change, correct? It would be a difficult decision after having such regular-season success, but the front office would have to address an issue holding them back. This happened this offseason with former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore and the Cowboys offense statistically had a great regular season, and won many games. Still, the front office understood something had to change in order for the team to get over the hump in the playoffs.
The Cowboys should be patient in giving Prescott an extension as they are currently doing. They should let the season play out, seeing if this is the year he finally takes the next step in the playoffs. The Cowboys are only attached to Prescott for this season and the next. Why should they commit to another four to five seasons without knowing if he truly is capable of leading the team to their first NFC Championship appearance since the 1995 season?
As RJ Ochoa often says on Blogging The Boys, multiple things can be true at once. Prescott is statistically a fringe top-ten quarterback in the league. The Dallas Cowboys have been very successful in the regular season throughout Prescott’s tenure, with a 61-36 record. The Dallas Cowboys have been equally unsuccessful in the playoffs in his tenure, with a 2-4 record. While regular season success is exciting and important, it is truly the playoffs that matter. If Prescott can’t get it done this year with this talent, the team should consider looking at other options around the league or in the draft next offseason.