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Watching Dak Prescott get carted off the field had to be one of the most difficult moments in Dallas Cowboys history. For Jerry Jones, losing his franchise quarterback represented another painful blow during a season in which Cowboys players continue to get hurt.

Prescott’s injury naturally raises questions about whether Dallas still wants to sign him to a long-term deal. On Tuesday, Jones sent a clear message about his quarterback’s future. But could the Cowboys owner reverse his stance if Andy Dalton leads Dallas to the playoffs?

Dak Prescott’s gruesome injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time

After failing to come to terms on a contract extension, Dak Prescott once again bet big on himself. Though he scored a $31 million payday thanks to the franchise tag, he entered the season with no financial security beyond 2020. Unfortunately for the former fourth-round pick, his decision to turn down lucrative offers could cost him dearly.

Although the Cowboys started the season with a 1-3 record, Prescott continued to put up monster numbers playing behind an injury-ravaged offensive line. On Sunday, though, his season came to a swift end when he suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation.

Set to become a free agent in the spring, Prescott’s injury raises obvious concerns about his standing with the team. Could the Cowboys move on from the 27-year-old rather than pay him life-changing money? Or will Jerry Jones ensure the two-time Pro Bowler remains a fixture in Dallas for years to come?

Jerry Jones sends a clear message about Prescott’s future

Despite failing to hammer out a contract extension, the Cowboys have maintained that Dak Prescott will be the team’s quarterback for years to come. Still, Jerry Jones has had to face questions about the team’s position on Prescott’s contract in light of his devastating injury.

During Tuesday’s appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jones sent a clear message that should put Cowboys fans at ease. When asked how Prescott’s injury affected the team’s future plans, Jones succinctly responded with “none.”

In addition, he provided some clarity on his quarterback’s recovery timeline.

“If you look ahead, he should be ready to go for our spring work and the latter part of the spring work,” Jones said. “But knowing Dak, and that’s a big part of this thing, knowing Dak and his makeup, he’ll be back out there soon. Physically, I’m told by the doctors, by our own experience of seeing this injury, physically there should be no problem with him being back out there in early May or April.”

Could the Cowboys reverse their stance if Andy Dalton plays well?

Jerry Jones may be saying all the right things at this moment, but could his stance on Dak Prescott’s future change by the end of the season? Ultimately, Andy Dalton could force the Cowboys to consider moving in a different direction at quarterback.

The 32-year-old certainly helped his case by completing 9-of-11 attempts for 111 yards in Sunday’s comeback victory over the New York Giants. And given Dallas’ deep arsenal of weapons, who’s to say that Dalton can’t lead the Cowboys to the playoffs?

After all, he led the Cincinnati Bengals to five consecutive postseason appearances to start his career. Of course, Dalton went 0-4 in four playoff starts.

Still, the Cowboys have a talented roster that will get a big boost when injured players like Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Cameron Erving, Joe Looney, and Chidobe Awuzie return to action.

Considering the NFC East looks wide open, Dalton absolutely could lead the Cowboys to the playoffs after the team fell short last season. If he manages to win a postseason game or two, could Dallas change its mind and sign the veteran to a more affordable contract than Prescott would command?

Given the Cowboys’ abundance of riches at wide receiver and running back, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Dalton succeed as the team’s starting quarterback. And if he manages to save Dallas’ season, Jerry Jones may just reverse his stance on Dak Prescott’s future with the franchise.

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Dak Prescott Just Lost His Chance to Cement His Cowboys Legacy