Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have been in passive contract negotiations for what seems like an eternity. Prescott wants to get a major deal as the next big name free agent quarterback in line for a new deal. The Cowboys seemingly don’t want to give him a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers-type of long-term contract. Prescott’s agreed to play for the franchise tag this year.
As the two go back and forth, a question arises: how good is Prescott? Is he an elite quarterback, or is he simply “good?” Let’s take a closer look at how he’s performed in his career, his contract situation, and whether he’s a top-five QB.
Dak Prescott’s career overview and contract situation
According to Pro Football Reference, Prescott has started every Cowboys game since taking over under center to begin the 2016 season. In four seasons, he’s thrown for nearly 16,000 yards and 97 touchdowns. The Cowboys didn’t expect Prescott to be the starter when drafting him. An injury to Tony Romo forced Prescott into the starting lineup. He performed so well that Romo retired and joined the broadcast booth.
Now the Cowboys and Prescott find themselves at a crossroads. Do they commit to a long-term deal with the quarterback? For now, it appears as though they’ll sign him year-to-year using the franchise tag. It’s reminiscent of the way Washington dealt with Kirk Cousins before he went to Minnesota. But is Dallas right to approach signing Prescott with such trepidation?
Dak Prescott’s stats
To put Prescott’s performance in perspective, it helps to compare him to his contemporaries. Here’s what Prescott was able to do in several major passing categories as well as where he ranked in the league overall (all stats via Pro Football Reference):
- Touchdowns: 30 (4th)
- Yards: 4,902 (2nd)
- Quarterback rating: 99.7 (10th)
- Yards per attempt: 8.2 (5th)
Prescott also showed solid durability, starting all 16 games last season. While it’s true that Prescott is aided considerably by the Dallas running game (they’ve got one of the best running backs in Ezekiel Elliott to go with their fantastic offensive line) but the fact is that Prescott has gotten considerably better as a passer every year.
Is Dak Prescott a top-five QB?
The knock against Prescott is that he has yet to win a playoff game. But it’s hard to hold the Cowboys’ lack of success against Prescott. Take a closer look at the Dallas organization from top to bottom. It’s a franchise that hasn’t advanced as far as the NFC championship game since the last time it won a Super Bowl in the ’90s.
While the franchise has had some solid squads over the past couple of decades, they haven’t been able to compete at an elite level. While the team’s infrastructure has built a solid offensive line and a roster that can be counted on to compete for the NFC East title, they haven’t proven they’re championship material yet. This isn’t a new problem. Jerry Jones has struggled as the GM, and former head coach Jason Garrett seemed to keep the team mired in mediocrity. Now there’s a new regime in place with Mike McCarthy as the new coach.
If the only demerit against Prescott is the team’s lack of playoff wins, that’s hardly his fault. He’s still a young quarterback. Instead, look at his steady progress and solid statistical output. Based on his age and production, it’s fair to say that Prescott is a top-five quarterback right now. He may not be as good as Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, but he seems to be in that next tier of quarterbacks. The Cowboys would be smart to lock him up long-term.