Dak Prescott was supposed to have his coming out party with the Cowboys this year. Although he has proven himself to be one of the league’s best quarterbacks since usurping Tony Romo, Prescott was viewed in a tier behind other young stars like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
However, with everything looking up for the looming free agent, tragedy struck when he fractured his ankle in a week five win over the New York Giants.
Dak Prescott’s year
Given the franchise tag in an offseason where he hoped to secure a massive deal, Prescott went into the 2020 season, hoping that it would be the one that finally got Jerry Jones to open the pocketbook.
On top of that, the Cowboys brought in Mike McCarthy to bring his Super Bowl pedigree to a franchise that still considers itself America’s team. With lofty expectations, the Cowboys took the field.
Prescott and company worked well on offense. Through five games, they averaged nearly 33 points per game. To Prescott’s credit, he threw for a mindboggling 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns in those game, doing so with a 68-percent clip, too.
He showed every ounce of the potential that Cowboys fans have lauded since he entered the league. Unfortunately, the defense held them back.
Despite having one of the best offenses in the NFL, the Cowboys defense has been the worst in the NFL. With the defense allowing 36 points per game, Prescott’s outstanding performances are undercut by a lack of support from the other side of the field.
At 2-3, the Dallas Cowboys were already looking to disappoint, but things could go downhill quickly after Prescott’s injury.
Dak Prescott goes down
Prescott had another solid performance in the third quarter of a week five game against the Giants. However, as he scrambled and was tackled, his ankle landed at an unfortunate angle, and the quarterback went down in a gruesome injury that sent shockwaves through the stadium.
A tearful Prescott waved at fans as he was carted off the field, but it was clear that it would be the last time he stepped foot in a game for quite some time.
With speculation running wildly on social media, the Cowboys confirmed that it was a compound fracture, according to The Athletic. Fractures like this can take months to recover from, and Cowboys fans were understandably troubled by the news.
Although they have a serviceable backup quarterback in Andy Dalton for the immediate future, many are concerned about his future in the league as a whole. Fans, fellow players, and other notable people took to Twitter to voice support, however.
Support rolls in
From the Cowboys’ social media accounts to everyone getting the news in real-time, people were heartbroken to learn that Dak Prescott’s immediate future is in limbo. Jerry Jones expressed his sorrow through a statement, according to the Dallas Cowboys website:
“We are all heartbroken for Dak and this very disappointing injury. The outpouring of messages that I have received regarding his setback speaks volumes to the respect and admiration that he has earned from his teammates, former Cowboys players, and Cowboys supporters everywhere.”
Despite Jones’ concern about Prescott in his statement, however, many fans were quick to point out the hypocrisy of stating how important the quarterback is for the franchise while also refusing to lock him down long-term and pay him like other superstars. The always opinionated Stephen A. Smith spoke about this when someone quoted him pointing out this double standard.
The NFL might be friendly to those who can stay on the field, but the other side of the coin is the way that owners like Jerry Jones can take power away from players with the franchise tag and a lack of commitment.
If Prescott comes back at full strength, he might still get that lucrative payday. However, by getting hurt in the middle of a franchise-tagged season, he shines a light on one of the NFL’s many problems.
As he recovers, the saga of Prescott’s contract will likely come up again. In a perfect world, he’ll finally get that lucrative payday. However, if he cannot get back to where he was before the fracture, it might shine a light on how player-unfriendly NFL contracts can be.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference