Is Quarterback Dak Prescott Worth $40 Million a Year?

It’s been reported that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is seeking a contract worth $40 million dollars a year. For many people, that number sounds crazy. No one in the league is making that amount. It feels like a player like six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady should be making that much, not Prescott and his one playoff win.

So is Dak Prescott worth $40 million a year? At first glance, it doesn’t seem so. However, looking closer shows that the Cowboys may have to pay nearly that much to keep their talented quarterback. 

Dak Prescott’s Stats 

Throughout Dak Prescott’s three years in the league, he has put up some really good numbers.  He has never missed a game. He completed 67.7% of his passes last year and has made the Pro Bowl two of his three years in the league. At 25 years old, Prescott appears to have a great future ahead of him.

However, Prescott isn’t considered an elite quarterback. There are many veteran top-level quarterbacks playing at a high level, such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers. Prescott generally isn’t viewed at the same level as these quarterbacks.

In addition, there are many talented younger quarterbacks, such as Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Deshaun Watson. Prescott is viewed as a good quarterback, but not better than all of these players.

Why Prescott Shouldn’t Get $40 Million A Year 

There are several reasons why $40 million a year seems like a crazy number. First, Dak Prescott hasn’t had amazing past performances. While he has put up some good stats, they aren’t jaw-dropping numbers like Mahomes. Last year, Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards, scored 50 touchdowns, and won the NFL’s MVP award.

Second, Prescott hasn’t had much playoff success. While his team has made the playoffs two of his three years, he only has one playoff win.  

In addition, Prescott would outearn all of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Brady will make $28.3 million next year. Brees and Rodgers also make much less than $40 million a year. Prescott outearning Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks by tens of millions a year doesn’t feel right.

Another reason is the financial inflexibility a high salary creates for the Cowboys. The NFL has a hard salary cap that teams cannot exceed. Every dollar paid to Dak Prescott is one less dollar that cannot be used to pay other players.

Over the last several years, the Cowboys have drafted really well. But as those players come up for second contracts, it puts the Cowboys in a tighter salary cap situation. If Prescott gets $40 million a year, it may cost the team cornerback Byron Jones or linebacker Jaylon Smith.  

Why Prescott Should Get $40 Million A Year

Many of the arguments about Dak Prescott making $40 million a year focus on him being overpaid in relation to someone like Brady. However, contracts for top quarterbacks are never fair. Brady has never been the highest-paid quarterback. During the last few years, quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Kirk Cousins have received monster contracts that didn’t match their performance.

In addition, quarterback contracts are on the rise. Earlier this year, Russell Wilson signed a contract extension worth up to $157 million. In June, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz signed an extension worth up to $144 million. The Wentz deal is especially important to Prescott, who was drafted in the same year as Dak. Wentz has had season-ending injuries in the last two years. Prescott’s stats are also better than Wentz in many categories.  

Additionally, the Cowboys are paying for future performance. If the Cowboys pay $40 million a year, they are doing it because they think Prescott can lead them to a Super Bowl. Prescott’s first three years show promise, but aren’t what the Cowboys expect in the future. 

Furthermore, the salary cap has been rising. What may seem like a huge contact today will be more reasonable as the salary cap rises. In two years, Prescott’s contract will probably be eclipsed by several other quarterbacks, including Mahomes.

Also, finding quarterbacks is a difficult process. While the Cowboys were lucky to get Prescott, they only got him because they struck out on getting quarterbacks such as Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook. Lynch is fighting for the backup quarterback job in Seattle and Cook is no longer in the league. There is no guarantee that the Cowboys can easily replace Prescott.  

For the Cowboys to keep Prescott, it will require them to beat Wentz’s contract. Prescott may not make $40 million a year, but it’s going to be a huge contract. Fans may not want to hear it, but quarterback contracts are moving towards the $40 million a year mark.