Since joining the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, Dak Prescott has enjoyed relative supremacy as the NFC East's best quarterback. But the newly-dubbed Washington Commanders, seeking to change their on-field product as well as their brand, could threaten Dak's status if they make a “big swing” for a franchise QB this offseason.
Other than some brief flashes from Carson Wentz during his time with the Eagles, no other QB1 in the division has been able to consistently rival Prescott. Along with the best individual stats of the division's passers over the last six seasons, Dak's also led the Cowboys to more division titles than their rivals.
But according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the Commanders may be looking to give Prescott more competition. Breer reports that Washington is preparing to pursue one of the league's top quarterbacks in the 2022 free agent market.
Right now that pool doesn't look so deep; Jameis Winston and Tyrod Taylor are arguably the two best QBs with expiring contracts this offseason. But it's heavily speculated, if not expected, that names like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and DeShaun Watson will soon join them as either cap casualties or as their teams look to move on from bad situations.
Granted, none of these players arrivals in the NFC East would automatically supplant Prescott. Dak was still 7th in passing yards 5th in touchdowns, higher than Rodgers or Wilson this season, and 3rd in passer rating in 2021 despite many calling it a “down year” for the Cowboys' star.
While the 28-year-old Prescott would still be enjoying his physical prime and continuity with his team and offense, Rodgers (38) and Wilson (33) would be making big changes while also fighting off Father Time. As for Watson, though only 26, his year removed from football due to legal issues may take time to bounce back from.
Unless the Eagles' Jalen Hurts or New York's Daniel Jones make astronomical leaps next year, Washington's pursuit of a big-name quarterback is the only real threat to Dak Prescott. And given the Commanders' issues as a franchise over the last 20-plus years, you have to wonder how much those superstars would really be interested in making D.C. their next home.
To be fair, Washington does offer an attractive foundation on offense. Terry McLaurin is one of the league's best wideouts, Logan Thomas has emerged as a surprisingly solid tight end, and Antonio Gibson is an exciting young running back. With a top-graded offensive line and Chase Young leading a solid defense, the Commanders could offer a win-now situation if the new QB is a good fit.
Indeed, Washington was arguably a franchise QB away from beating the Bucs in the 2020 playoffs and doing who-knows-what from there.
Could Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, DeShaun Watson, or some other significant quarterback be joining the Commanders and our division in 2022? If so, it will certainly put a lot more pressure on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys if they want to repeat as NFC East Champions.