I guess the third time IS the charm after all.
Had things gone the way owner Jerry Jones hoped on April 28, 2016, Paxton Lynch may have become the signal-caller for the Dallas Cowboys. But, as is the constant storyline surrounding the NFL, things often don’t go to plan. Following a failed attempt to trade up on draft night, Lynch went to the Broncos 26th overall.
Then came Connor Cook, who just later in the fourth-round of that same draft was targeted by Jones who again looked to move up, this time with the Raiders to select Kirk Cousins’ predecessor at Michigan State.
That too failed.
Patience has become a virtue in the NFL, and Jones’ aggressiveness ultimately wasn’t warranted, as Dak Prescott fell to the team at No. 135—without having to trade up. And now, here we are. Just months following a catastrophic injury where many have questioned if he’d ever return to Dallas, Dak. Is. Back.
Just a little over a week until free agency begins, Jones locked up his most prized possession. According to Adam Schefter, Prescott and the Cowboys have agreed to a staggering four-year, $160M deal, including a record $126M of guaranteed money. For context, Tony Romo earned $125M in 14 seasons as a Cowboy. Additionally, Prescott’s $66M signing bonus becomes the highest in NFL history, trumping Russell Wilson’s $65M bonus received in 2019.
But, was it the right move?
Let’s take a look back at the history under center for Dallas. Since Jones purchased the team in 1989, only Troy Aikman and Romo received multi-year extensions from the extravagant owner. Like Aikman, who was extended by Jones also at 27 years old, Prescott is now tasked with leading the Cowboys organization back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years.
For now, Jones’ past moves for the aging Terrell Owens, paying Deion Sanders to be the highest-paid defensive player in history, and extending Romo for $108M despite just one playoff victory is in the background.
What matters is today, and Jones got it exactly right.
Prescott, arguably, is the most talented quarterback in Cowboys history, touting all the tools necessary to become the best to ever suit up under center for Dallas when it’s all set and done; If he can stay healthy. The importance of Prescott was grasped just minutes after he was carted off in Week 5 against the New York Giants. Dallas crumbled, and the season ultimately faltered from the moment his shadow faded into the tunnels of AT&T Stadium. They were a laughing stock, abysmal on defense, and a unit with a lost cause on offense. Dallas scuffled along for weeks with Andy Dalton, scoring just one touchdown in three games after scoring 31 or more points in four of their first five matchups.
Prior to his injury, Prescott totaled 1,856 yards through the air with nine touchdowns in just five games. The Cowboys' offense looked to be one of the league’s best, scoring points at record amounts—they had to. Under Mike Nolan’s direction, Dallas’ defense was one of the league’s worst units ever. They allowed a franchise-record 473 points and gave up a combined 601 yards rushing to just the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. For context, Dallas hadn’t allowed an opponent to rush for more than 290 yards more than once in its 60-year history. It happened twice in 2020. Prescott was consistently tasked with leading scoring drive after scoring drive, and he seemingly was never flustered.
And now, as the ink settles and spring arrives in Dallas, the Cowboys look to be back. With Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and CeeDee Lamb, Dallas has their core, which should allow Jones to rejoice… for now.
To read about the fantasy football implications of Prescott’s new deal, click here.