When Dak Prescott was drafted in the fourth round in 2016 draft, not very many people thought he would be an elite talent that would lead America’s Team to glory.
But after an impressive 13-3 record in his rookie year and a dominant supporting cast around him, it looked like Dak was going to prove those doubters wrong. However, in 2017 the Cowboy’s star running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games for off the field issues and Dak’s play took a disturbing dip. The Cowboys did not even make the playoffs that year.
The 2018 season looked as though it might have been a repeat of the previous season, as the Cowboys went into their bye week at a measly 3-4. Everything changed, though, with the signing of Amari Cooper, who was once a first round draft pick for the Oakland Raiders.
Everything seemed to click for the Cowboys after that as they would go on to win seven of their final nine games in the regular season and would also go on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in a thriller of a game at AT&T Stadium. However, the magic died down in Los Angeles and the Cowboys fell to the eventual Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams, whose rushing attack led by CJ Anderson doused the Cowboys’ chances of moving forward in the playoffs.
This season looked like the Cowboys’ year to win it all, their defense was stacked with young, dynamic playmakers such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and others. While the offense was among the most potent in the league, finishing first in yards per game. At the end of the day, the Cowboys just could not put it all together and the embarrassment of a season led to the firing of head coach Jason Garrett.
Among the significant headlines for a highly publicized Cowboys team this year was Dak Prescott asking for $40 million per year in his new contract. This led to a great many debates in the sport industry over whether or not he was worth that amount of money, which would make him the highest paid player in the league (Russell Wilson currently pulls in $35 million per year).
There is no way Dak Prescott should be the highest paid player in the National Football League. Of the top-five highest paid quarterbacks in the league, four of them have played in a Super Bowl (Carson Wentz would have had he not been injured) and three of them have won at least one Super Bowl.
The furthest Dak has gone in the playoffs is the second round. Now this is not to say that Dak should not get paid a lot of money; quarterbacks such as Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Derek Carr are all on the list of the top-ten highest paid quarterbacks and have shown flashes of greatness. Their teams simply took too large a gamble on them, and so far, it has done more to hurt their teams than help them one could argue.
Dak has also yet to truly prove that he can lead a team to victory without an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. Since he took over for the Cowboys, Dak has consistently had a top five offensive line and arguably the best running back in Ezekiel Elliott. That certainly has made it a lot easier for him compared to a quarterback like Russell Wilson, who has had to deal with poor offensive line play and a lack of serious weapons for a lot of his career.
On the other hand, Dak has been steadily improving as a player throughout his short career and had easily the best year of his tenure as the Cowboys quarterback during the 2019-20 season. He threw for almost 5,000 yards and had 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.
Dak has also proven that with a true number one wide receiver in his offense, he can make defenses pay. Due to that, it is absolutely necessary that the Cowboys also lock up Amari Cooper for a long-term contract to ensure Dak’s success. As a leader, Dak checks pretty much every box you could ask for. He is mature and poised in front of a podium, which is a major part in being the quarterback for the most valuable sports franchise in the world. He also has the complete respect of his teammates, who consistently praise him for his toughness and leadership abilities.
Leadership is a major part of Dak’s job and he excels at it consistently. Also, Dak has never had any off the field issues that have resulted in him missing time or created drama in the locker room, an exceptional quality for your team’s leader.
At the end of the day, Dak is an above average quarterback who will usually make the smart, safe play, but won’t necessarily light up the scoreboard or highlight reels. Most importantly, Dak seems to almost always put his team in the position to win games, even if they don’t always do that. He is not the type quarterback who will lose games with wild, erratic throws like many young quarterbacks do.
He is a grown-up who will make the smart play that keeps his team alive. So no, he is not a $40 million a year man; that honor is reserved for the Patrick Mahomes’ of the world, who can score points at a video game pace and rarely lose big games.
Dak Prescott does deserve to be a top-ten paid quarterback in the league though, he should earn something in the $25 million – $27 million per year range. Dak is a natural born leader and absolutely has the ability to win a Super Bowl with the supporting cast he has around him, and it is for those reasons he should receive a long-term contract from America’s Team.
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