The standoff between Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys has officially come to an end. After what’s seemed like an eternity, the two sides have finally agreed to a resolution to ensure the former fourth-round pick remains the face of the franchise for years to come.
And by becoming the most overpaid quarterback in NFL history, Prescott just helped his team save more than $15 million.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have been stuck at a standstill for quite some time
After he and the Cowboys failed to come to terms on a multi-year extension last offseason, Dak Prescott took a risk by playing on the franchise tag. Unfortunately for the dual-threat quarterback, he suffered a nasty injury that ended his fifth NFL campaign in mid-October.
With their quarterback undergoing surgery to repair his damaged ankle, the Cowboys finished the year with a disappointing 6-10 record.
In the early stages of the offseason, speculation has swirled about Prescott’s future in Dallas. After all, using the franchise tag again on the 27-year-old would cost the Cowboys more than $37 million. That number represents a sizable chunk of the team’s salary-cap space for 2021.
On the other hand, Jerry Jones obviously has been reluctant to sign the 6-foot-2, 238-pound signal-caller to a contract extension.
But with free agency rapidly approaching, Dallas finally made a decision about what to do with Prescott on Monday.
Dallas just saved $15.5 million by making Prescott the most overpaid quarterback in NFL history
Adam Schefter first broke the news on Twitter Monday evening about the Cowboys agreeing to a deal with Dak Prescott. According to the ESPN reporter, Prescott will sign a four-year, $160 million contract that includes $126 million guaranteed.
The sixth-year pro will make an average of $42 million across the first three years of his new deal. Stunningly, Prescott will reportedly make $75 million in 2021 thanks to a hefty $66 million signing bonus.
More importantly, his pricey extension will save the Cowboys a sizable chunk of money. Because instead of counting $37.7 million against the salary cap on a second franchise tag, Prescott will carry a significantly lower cap hit for 2021.
According to Schefter, the Cowboys QB will count $22.2 million against the salary cap this season. Ultimately, the deal will save Dallas $15.5 million—a significant amount for a team that needs to make upgrades at several positions.
Still, those savings won’t matter if Prescott doesn’t live up to his lucrative contract. And based on his resume, along with the deals signed by more accomplished quarterbacks, he now looks like the most overpaid player at his position of all time.
Is there any chance of the two-time Pro Bowler living up to his $160 million deal?
Dak Prescott definitely deserved to get a long-term deal. But at $40 million per season, the Cowboys will pay a premium price for a player who has nowhere near the resume of other signal-callers with cheaper contracts.
Assuming the numbers hold true, Prescott will be the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL. He ranks just ahead of Deshaun Watson, who makes about $39 million per year.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers—both of whom will wind up in Canton one day—make $5 and $6.5 million less per year, respectively, than a quarterback with one career playoff win.
Sure, the going rate for the position goes up every year. But for Prescott to only rank behind Patrick Mahomes in terms of average salary seems ludicrous.
Prior to 2019, he averaged about 22 touchdown passes through three seasons. While he has totaled 24 rushing touchdowns, he does not possess the game-breaking athleticism to completely take over a game with his legs.
Plus, let’s not forget Prescott has struggled in big games. In Week 16 of the 2017 season, he threw two interceptions in a 21-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks that cost Dallas a potential playoff berth.
During the early portion of the 2019 season, he played poorly in back-to-back losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.
The two-time Pro Bowler has also never made an All-Pro team. Yet, he now holds the distinction of being the only NFL player other than Mahomes to make $40 million annually.
Perhaps the Cowboys will stay healthy in 2021 and the offense will live up to its potential. Maybe Dallas will use those cap savings to make changes to a defense in desperate need of better talent. And if Jerry Jones’ team somehow wins a Super Bowl title in the next few years, then the narrative about Prescott’s deal may change.
But for now, he holds the honor of being the overpaid quarterback in NFL history.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.