NFL

Dak Prescott Will Never Follow in Troy Aikman’s Footsteps if Jerry Jones Refuses to Budge

Dak Prescott still has a long way to go to belong in the same conversation as Troy Aikman. He’s certainly outperformed expectations as a fourth-round pick, but he has yet to win a Super Bowl title with the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, he may never win hoist the Lombardi Trophy as a Cowboy if Jerry Jones doesn’t budge and finally sign his star QB to a long-term contract.

Troy Aikman set a winning standard for Cowboys quarterbacks

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Tony Romo provided ample highlights during his tenure as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. However, he failed to step up in the postseason. On the other hand, Troy Aikman set the standard for quarterback play in Dallas.

Though he played in a run-dominant offense, Aikman became an NFL legend because he played well when it mattered. His regular-season statistics certainly won’t blow you away. He averaged exactly one touchdown per start. Aikman also threw 141 interceptions in 165 games.

Despite a rather unimpressive regular-season resume, the former No. 1 pick earned a spot in Canton because of his postseason play. Aikman elevated his game to new heights in each of the Cowboys’ Super Bowl runs. In 1992, he completed 68.5 percent of his postseason attempts for eight touchdowns and zero picks.

A year later, the defending Super Bowl champions got another great run out of Troy Aikman. Although he threw three interceptions, the Pro Bowler completed 74.4 percent of his 82 attempts. Two years later, he won Jerry Jones another Lombardi Trophy with another efficient postseason run.

Three titles in a four-year span cemented Troy Aikman’s Cowboys legacy. Dak Prescott doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring, and he may not get one in Dallas if his contract situation doesn’t get resolved.

Dak Prescott still doesn’t have a long-term deal despite star status

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When the Cowboys selected Prescott with the 135th pick in the 2016 NFL draft, they couldn’t have imagined he’d develop into one of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks. In fact, he probably wouldn’t have seen the field if not for Romo’s career-ending back injury.

Yet, Prescott has more than held his own over the last four years. He earned Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors while leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record. Back-to-back solid campaigns set the stage for a fantastic 2019 season. Last year, Prescott set career-highs in passing yards (4,902), touchdowns (30) and yards per attempt (8.2).

All offseason, the story in Dallas has centered around Prescott’s contract situation. He turned down several deals before the Cowboys used the franchise tag to retain his services. Still, Jerry Jones hasn’t locked up his star quarterback to a long-term deal.

With the NFL season inching closer, it’s fair to wonder whether Prescott will indeed become the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Prescott can follow in Aikman’s footsteps if Jerry Jones pays up

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Make no mistake: Dak Prescott isn’t getting a bust in Canton anytime soon. But his dynamic skillset and the Cowboys’ stacked roster gives him a legitimate chance to follow in Troy Aikman’s footsteps. Like his predecessor, Prescott benefits from playing with two dynamic skill players in Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott.

When you add in complementary pieces like Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, it’s easy to get excited about the Dallas offense. Even Prescott himself possesses a more impressive skill set and production than Aikman.

However, if he wants to be considered in the same breath as the Cowboys legend, Prescott must step up in the postseason. He has just a single playoff win in his four-year career. Aikman won 23 plus three Super Bowl rings.

Ultimately, Jerry Jones needs to open up his checkbook and make sure Prescott remains under center for years to come. Given the talent in Dallas, the Cowboys absolutely could make a run at multiple Super Bowl titles. Only time will tell if Dak Prescott will be the man to do it.

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference