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Cowboys’ Prescott Ranked Top 2021 Free Agent by ESPN

The Dallas Cowboys have plenty of decisions to make personnel-wise as free agency approaches. Xavier Woods, Jourdan Lewis, and Chidobe Awuzie are all unrestricted free agents, making the secondary a point of interest. Aldon Smith, who had some flash moments after a five-year hiatus, is also set to hit the market along with backup quarterback Andy Dalton and many more.

Speaking of the quarterback position, Dak Prescott is the biggest free agent on the Cowboys roster, for obvious reasons. Earlier this week, ESPN ranked the top 50 free agents of 2021, and Prescott took the top spot.

ESPN Staff Writer Kevin Seifert on the Cowboys situation with their top signal-caller.

“To this point, there has been no reason to project long-term health implications from Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury. Assuming that remains the case, Prescott remains what every quarterback-needy team dreams of: a signal-caller who is highly productive, under 30 years old and universally respected as a leader. And if anything, he elevated those credentials in five games this season, averaging a career-high 371 passing yards per game. He also produced a Total QBR of 78.4, which would have been among the top five in the league if he had enough plays to qualify. But through another franchise tag or via a longer-term deal, it’s difficult to imagine the Cowboys letting him depart.”

The 2021 salary cap is projected to be around $180 million which is a significant drop from the $198.2 million that was set in 2020, all due to the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s an important nugget because Prescott played on a franchise tag that paid him $31.4 million this season, and it will balloon to around $38 million if a second tag is applied, which makes getting a long-term deal done extremely critical.

Prescott suffered a gruesome ankle injury in October that ended his 2020 campaign. However, in just five games, he was spectacular. Prescott led the NFL before his injury with 1,856 passing yards. He became the first quarterback in league history with three consecutive games with 450 yards or more.

Amari Cooper had his second consecutive 1,100-yard season in 2020 which included a career-high 92 receptions. Before Prescott went down, he was on pace for over 120 receptions and over 1,300 yards. Rookie sensation CeeDee Lamb registered 74 receptions for 935 yards. However, his pace was 93 receptions for over 1,300 yards while playing with Prescott.

The Cowboy’s offense averaged 32.6 points per game with Prescott under center. That number dipped to 21.1 points per game with Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert, and Ben DiNucci running the offense.

Earlier this month, Cowboys Owner/General Manager Jerry Jones made an appearance on 105.3 The Fan to discuss the organization’s situation with Prescott. Jones stated that the former fourth-round pick has tons of leverage in future negotiations.

“I don’t know how you could have any more leverage,” Jones said. “His evolving into an NFL quarterback has been nothing short of a perfect picture. He has great ability, in my mind, to win games. He’s talented. He certainly has the experiences and he has all the things, which has been substantiated by what we’ve offered Dak. You wouldn’t offer Dak what we offered in the past if you’d not thought he was very special.

“The issue is, how do you come together? And that’s no stranger to me. I’ve been doing it all my life, putting things together. We’ve got to get it together.”

Prescott’s long-term security will be the main topic of the Cowboy’s offseason. Now, the only thing left to figure out is if he’ll have that lucrative deal he’s been seeking since 2019, or will he receive a second tag and be a free agent once again in 2022.

What do you think?

Matthew Lenix

Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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  1. Would love to see QBR by quarter.

    Perhaps this would reveal something that JJ could utilize as a counter balance in negotiations.

    Not sure why JJ continues to, at least publicly, diminish teams position and its value.

  2. Sugar coat all you want. Bottom line – WINS AND LOSSES.

    Last two years, an 10-11 record in BY FAR THE WORST DIVISION IN THE LEAGUE. And that includes two games this year: a minor miracle WIN handed to him by the Falcons AND the Giant WIN that was won AFTER he left the game. So he is more like 8 – 13, playing in the NFC EAST!!! In Fantasy Football, where stats only matter, DP rates, but in the real world, well, the record speaks for itself. It’s interesting, how only one out of the four remaining QBs in the postseason, Mahomes, is a huge Fantasy Football favorite, especially before the season started. Kind of tells you something about stats.

    AGAIN, ONE PLAYOFF WIN IN FIVE YEARS. FACT, not opinion.

    JJ is a shrewd dude, and loves to shower praise on his players, including DP. It is done for a reason, folks. He called Jaylon Smith a “CORNERSTONE”???

    He said of Zeke, “He is our best football player”??? Yeah, maybe four or five years ago.

    Pray tell, when is this “perfect” guy going to deliver???

  3. I understand that. But you release Dak you should sign him them trade him instead of letting him into the FA. Many teams would love Dak and would be willing to play his Contract. You can at least get a first rounder from Dak. So draft a CB with 10 then take a Qb like Jones or Trask later in first round? Makes more sense. Mine as well get something from trading him.

  4. Yet he’s still our MVP and best player. Which means either we have the worst talent base in the NFL or ur underratiing him.

    I will agree though that next year is a put up or shut up season for Dak. As he goes we go, so here’s to hoping he goes.

  5. So guys , do you think the cowboys will franchise tag him ? I think they should , the only times the cowboys have been good is cuz of Zeke his first 2 or 3 years he was the best RB in the NFL , we also had the best O-Line in the NFL , then you look at when Dak puts up “CAREER HIGH STATS” our team isn’t doing good , I’ve said this before and i’ll say it again, i think he’s a Blake Bortles or more mobile Kirk Cousins , puts up good stats when your team sucks, but the only way you can win with them is to have a good run game and D , Dak has yet to prove that that isn’t true and so i think franchise tag him one more year , fix the D via draft and free agency , and see what happens , there’s NO EXCUSE that if this D is at least average to above average and if the O-line is just average to above average that we shouldn’t take off with division , the Eagles are a mess , the WFT are good but limited by QB play, (we’ll see what they’ll get in draft) the Giants are too Barkley dependent so if he gets hurt again they won’t be good again, there’s NO REASON with the amount of talent the cowboys are looking to get to add to this “top 10 QB” that we shouldn’t win the division with relative EASE, and win a playoff game, if we don’t win division or we under perform , then turn the page and go see who you can get at QB in draft next year , i just don’t think Dak should be paid top 3 or 5 QB money like what he’s wanting cuz he put up stats that ended up with us still losing and when he did win with us , he wasn’t even the main reason we were winning , Zeke was , the O-Line was the reason we were winning when Dak was a rookie , not cuz of Dak

  6. The only teams out there that even has close to the amount of talent we have and potentially will have in the NFL is the Packers, ” who i think will be in the Super Bowl” and the Chiefs, “who i think will also be in the Super Bowl” we add a bunch of good players via draft and free agency on D , and if the O-Line can stay somewhat healthy , then we would have 3 WR1s , a better than average O-Line , more than adequate TEs, and average to above average D , NO TEAM HAS THAT Chief have the weapons to match but D is not good, the Packers are the closest as far as talent with Adams , one of the best O-Lines in the NFL, Jones at RB, and the D is decent , but those teams i’m talking about i believe both will be in the Super Bowl, NO EXCUSE the cowboys get that kind of talent that we shouldn’t AT LEAST win division and win a playoff game

    ESPECIALLY WITH THIS TOP 10 QB I KEEP HEARING ABOUT

  7. Where is all this talent ur talking about? The cowboys had ZERO all pros ZERO. This team is SADLY lacking in talent. No idea what talent ur referring to. Ur way off base on that.
    Nearly every team in the NFL has more talent than the cowboys.

    Dak is the most talented player on this team outside of Z Martin. Yet he’s the problem? Ok

  8. TUTX88, the question isn’t “will the Cowboys franchise tag DP” again. The question is will DP make Cowboys tag him. DP has consistently refused EVERY GENEROUS OFFER on the table. The ball has been in DP’s court throughout this contract drama. So if DP again does not agree to a contract, then he ultimately tags himself, IF the Cowboys want to continue the relationship. Another option, as Kami pt 6 writes, sign him, then trade him, in order to get something out of it.

    Cowboys got some figuring to do.

  9. I wouldn’t tag Dak again unless ur intention is to trade him, which again I doubt happens. If they sign him long term they can space the money out and have more money for free agency. To me it’s just not a good business decision to tag him at 37 million. Tag and trade him or sign him long term. We need to get on with the business at hand.

  10. There is a very simple solution. Tag Dak and then allow him to talk to other teams. Contine to negotiate with him but let him find out what his open market value is. Íf he gets an offer Dallas can’t/won’t match work out a trade and move on. Look how Herbert has turned out in LA. At#10 some combination of Trask, Jones, Wilson and the kid from S Dakota will be available. A good QB on a 5 year rookie deal is the best way to manage talent/cap space. Look at how bad the Wentz and Goff deals look right now. Ryan has ATL in cap hell. On top of that Dalton looked pretty darn good 4 of the last 5 games. You can’t tell me there is going to be a huge market for his services plus guys like Fitzpatrick, Taylor, Winston, Rosen are all potential other options as bridge QBs. Save the $40M, get a pick or two for Dak, have a cheap QBfor the next 5 seasons and see what you have in DiNucci. Don’t forget it took 3 years for Romo to develop.

  11. Ben, sounds like a good plan. I like the idea of moving on from DP, partly because not sure he even wants to be Cowboy looking at the timeline of the negotiations. And partly because, IMO, he is not worth the money he is asking and the potential cap space problems it will cause. Also agree with your analysis of AD, and drafting a promising young QB to groom under him.

  12. The talent I’m referring to is how many of the teams out there have 3 WR1s , How many have an average to above average O-Line , and how many have a average to above average D ? That’s what we’re projected to have next year if we hit on picks and some decent free agents , there isn’t hardly a team out there except teams who I’m pretty confident will be in the Super Bowl, if we aren’t good next year , it’s ALL ON DAK

  13. How do you people keep putting the win/loss record on Dak!? Are you guys new to football or are you just stupid!? Wins and losses are a TEAM record not a QB stat!! Really…. You guys really sound stupid putting the wins and losses on just the QB!! There’s no QB in the NFL that can win a game by themselves!! It takes a whole TEAM to win a game!! When will you guys get that through your heads!! There’s a reason ALL TEAMS have an offense, a defense and a special teams…. Not a QB, a QB and a QB!! It takes 53 to win a game, not 1!! Come on guys…. You really sound stupid when you try putting the wins and losses on Dak!! And you sound even dumber when you try to trade him for unproven rookie QBs and QBs that can’t even stay on a TEAM as backups!! We’re better off with Dak rather you like it or not….. Get over it and quit being so stupid!!

  14. You need to listen cowboys fan instead of just skimming through comments and you’ll see that Dak it is his fault, if everything was based on just stats then Jameis Winston would still be the QB for the Bucs , you seem new to football if anything cowboys fan , EVERY GAME STARTS 0-0 , IF DAK IS AS GOOD AS YOU THINK THEN WHERE IS HE WHEN WE GO DOWN 7-0, 14-0, OR 21-0 ? He doesn’t do jack till he down 30 points and the D is playing prevent D

  15. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DISPUTE THAT can go and watch the games Dak played in again and just watch the offense, and you’ll see what i’m talking about

  16. And as far as rookies QBs go yes there are ones that are busts , but the bust rate is NO WHERE NEAR WHAT IT WAS EVEN 6 YEARS AGO because of the fact that the NFL is more like College style offense then EVER before, if you asked Romo back when he was playing to run a RPO he’d look at you funny and say, ” this isn’t College, this is the NFL” and yet this is a STAPLE in almost EVERY team in the NFL. THE ERA OF JUST POCKET QBs OR QBs WITH AN INABILITY TO RUN IS ON ITS LAST LEG YOU HAVE TO BE MOBILE, other than Tom Brady,(who will retire sooner or later) Drew Brees, (Who should retire this year) and backup QBs, ALL THE QBs OUT THERE CAN RUN WITH THE FOOTBALL, so with that now all these Rookie QBs who’ve been said to be PROJECTS i.e. Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert as just a few examples of recent memory. You see GUN Formation a lot more than ever before cuz it’s easier for these young QBs to read Defenses from the gun than it is under center, the point being is that THE NFL IS BY FAR MUCH MORE ROOKIE QB FRIENDLY THAN EVER BEFORE and that’s why you’re seeing more Rookie QBs translate to the NFL, Taysom Hill would have NO PLACE IN THE NFL 10 YEARS AGO and yet he beat out Winston for the backup job for the Saints and was used A LOT in the Saints offense even if Brees was healthy. So IMHO the Cowboys should franchise tag Dak or if they can do a sign and trade type deal then i’d do it , if he’s as great as some of you ppl think then we’ll see it next year with a BY FAR better team with the cowboys, and if isn’t as good as you Dak Homers think then we move on from him and see what we can get through draft at QB

  17. This is potentially 35-40 mil we are talking about giving to this guy who IMO hasn’t proven anything, we win with him not being the reason we won when he was a rookie and he had Zeke who if everyone forgot he was the best RB in the NFL back then and it wasn’t even close and a O-Line that was by far the best in the NFL at that point, and when he has the team on his back and he’s putting up stats, we losing, so my question is, CAN WE WIN WITH DAK BEING THE REASON AND HE’S PUTTING UP STATS ? And he hasn’t proven that yet, so till then I WOULDN’T PAY HIM THAT KIND OF MONEY and thus i don’t get the PREMISE of paying him that kind of money without knowing how good you would be with him, if you pay him that kind of money along with the bad contracts we already got then OUR TEAM WILL SUCK AND WON’T WIN TILL THERE CONTRACTS ARE GONE and i hate to be the bearer of bad news but that’s what will happen, IT’S A JOKE TO PAY HIM THAT KIND OF MONEY, MIGHT AS WELL PAY BLAKE BORTLES THAT KIND OF MONEY WHILE WE’RE AT IT

  18. Throwup88 wrong again. The cowboys OL was a dumpster fire last year and we’re depending on an old gimpy LT to stay healthy next season. We also don’t know if Collins will be fully healthy. Z Martin is the only quality lineman we have. The others are either underperformers or UDFAs.

    As far as the D line did you not see teams running roughshod over us all season? The LBs were terrible as well as the entire secondary (aside from Wilson). What talent? Our so called best player Elliott was terrible with zero production, numerous fumbles and dropped passes. Have no idea where this talent is u speak of.

    So the plan is to sign Dalton and live with mediocre QB play for a year or two while we hope this elusive drafted QB sits the bench and hopefully doesn’t turn into a bust when they do play? Sounds like a plan. And when would you draft this QB? Our top picks this coming draft need to go towards fixing this horrific defense.

    Dak is the least of our problems. We are terrible at every position except WR and one guard position. Dak is arguably are best player, yet he is the one holding the team back?

  19. It really amazing how do many people want to let Dak, go. So they let him go who the hell replaces him. QB are not falling off trees and don’t tell me one if the QB coming out this year because who knows what you get in a top rated college QB. Look at history with top rated college QBs

  20. First off ,I’m not even gonna address your comment Curtis and if you want an answer look at my earlier comments,

    Now Gary b, the O-Line was not good last year, they lost 3 of there best O-Lineman to injuries, how many O-Lines do you think is out there that could lose that and still be a good O-Line ? Other than the truly talented QBs that could make their O-Lines better than what they are, their O-Lines would be one of the worst in the NFL. PFF has the cowboys ranked at 26th in the NFL last year as far as O-Lines, the Bengals had the 30th ranked O-Line and yet Joe Burrow looked like he could be equal to Dak even with that bad of an O-Line for his Rookie year, IMAGINE IF BURROW HAD THE BEST O-LINE IN THE NFL AND THE BEST RB IN THE NFL IN HIS ROOKIE YEAR LIKE DAK HAD, The Chargers had the worst ranked O-Line in the NFL per PFF and yet JUSTIN HERBERT BROKE THE MOST PASSING YARDS RECORD BY A ROOKIE, MOST PASSING TDs BY A ROOKIE, MOST TOTAL TDs BY A ROOKIE, AND IS THE YOUNGEST QB EVER TO RECORD 30 PASSING TDs IN THE NFL. IMAGINE IF HE HAD THE BEST O-LINE IN THE NFL AND THE BEST RB IN THE NFL LIKE DAK DID IN HIS ROOKIE YEAR

    And now as far as D goes, the D will be better even without adding anybody already schematically speaking cuz of the fact that our base D is going back to a 4-3 D instead of 3-4 and as most of everyone know in 3-4 D you have 1 DT and 4 LBs where as in 4-3 you have 2 DTs and 3 LBs, so without even adding somebody we already better against the run schematically speaking now if we hit on all the picks i hear from you as well as other ppl then the D will be better. I’m gonna give you the PPG for the last 8 games, and i’m excluding the first 8 cuz of several reasons

    #1 Covid screwed most over every D early on except the real good ones and teams who didn’t change anything from the year before like Coordinators, the cowboys are neither real good nor did they stick with same Coordinators

    #2 The players early on on D looked like they didn’t even want to play, they thought Nolan’s D was too “COMPLICATED” for them

    #3 We started to get healthy on D in the 2nd half of the year

    ok so the Cowboys PPG average which is the only stat i care about on D for the last 8 games was 26.25 points and the league average was 24.8 PPG , so you’re telling me that the cowboys D with them hitting picks on D a better D schematically for D-Law and other players, they can’t get 2 or 3 points better on D ?

  21. I was responding to ur repeated comments touting the cowboys as one of the best in the league talent wise.

    U can change coaches, you can change schemes u can change whatever you want but if you don’t have the talent none of that matters. The simple fact is the cowboys are sorely lacking in the talent department. ZERO players to the all star team this year. Weak at every position except WR and guard Z Martin and oh yea QB. Had Dak not gotten injured, he would have made the all pro team, the only cowboy to do that. But yea he’s the problem. The best player on the team is the problem.

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