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How Many Quarterbacks Stand Between Prescott and Mahomes?

If heading into the 2020 NFL season you don’t rank Patrick Mahomes as the best quarterback in the NFL, I don’t know what to tell you other than “You’re doing it wrong.” After only two seasons starting for the Kansas City Chiefs, Mahomes has quite a long list of achievements including a 50-touchdown season, an MVP award, and a Super Bowl win.

As we marvel at the contract extension Mahomes struck with the Chiefs, I sit here and wonder two things. When will the Dallas Cowboys sign Dak Prescott to a long term deal? And how many quarterbacks stand between Prescott and QB1, Mahomes?

Mahomes’ 10-year deal is impressive. The fact that he will make more money than any other athlete in sports history speaks for itself. And it’s not difficult to imagine it will somehow impact the Cowboys’ negotiations with their own signal-caller, who they must extend before the July 15th deadline or else he’ll play under the franchise tag.

But if Patrick Mahomes is the clear-cut best quarterback in the league today, where does Dak Prescott rank?

You can look at this question from so many angles. It’s funny how it works, isn’t it?. If someone asks you who would you rather have for a single drive, your answer will be different than if you were asked who would you rather play in a single game, or a single season, or for an entire career. Today, let’s stick with reality and pose the question as follows…

Asides from Patrick Mahomes, who would you rather sign for the next 4-5 years before Dak Prescott?

Recently, a similar question was tweeted by Cowboys Staff Writer David Helman. Only he added an interesting twist to it. He asked what quarterbacks would you sign for 4-5 years “no questions asked” ahead of Dak?

By adding “no questions asked,” I believe you get a pretty short list. Patrick Mahomes is an instant lock, and following it up would be Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson. He’s one of the few elite QB talents in the league that’s been able to carry a conservative offense and a not-so-talented roster to winning seasons year in and year out.

That’s it, that’s the “no questions asked” list.

Before you mention how Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. and has proven he can win a Super Bowl every other year or how Drew Brees is another of the game’s greatest ever, remember we’re discussing a 4-5 year extension. In other words, let’s keep the guys who are close to retirement out of it.

After Mahomes and Wilson, there is a handful of guys you could make an argument for. Two stand out the most.

Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans has solidified himself as one of the NFL’s most promising young quarterbacks. Despite having a poor offensive line, Watson has managed to take the Texans to the playoffs in the last two years. Deshaun’s play earned him the third-best PFF grade for quarterbacks in the first three years of his career. Don’t expect him to disappear just because DeAndre Hopkins was traded.

Lamar Jackson is another player worth mentioning, especially after a unique 2019 season in which he made the Ravens legit contenders in the AFC by throwing and running the football. For many, concerns on whether he can win ballgames by only throwing the football will remain, but he’s one of the league’s most talented players right now. Also, running the football often doesn’t mean he can’t throw. There’s a reason why he averaged 7.8 yards per attempt. The guy is special, even if you choose to overthink it after his first playoff loss.

There might be other quarterbacks you could get into the conversation, like the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz, but the truth is he seems to be a step behind the other quarterbacks we’ve discussed so far. Guys like Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins are not close to the end of their careers, but they’re not that young to be included in the conversation. They’re basically the same age as Russell Wilson, but Russ is on another level.

Under the terms of the question “Asides from Patrick Mahomes, who would you rather sign for the next 4-5 years before Dak Prescott?”, here’s how I’d rank them:

  1. Wilson
  2. Prescott
  3. Watson
  4. Jackson

The ranking doesn’t change that much for me by adjusting the terms of the question, either. Although I’d understand someone adding Tom Brady’s clutch factor into the mix if the “for the next 4-5 years” bit was removed. Even Brees.

However, the numbers prove Dak Prescott is surely a Top 10 QB in the NFL and is in the Top 5 conversation, too. Prescott has shown what he can do and despite Dallas missing the playoffs last season, you can’t just ignore the improvements he showed in 2019. He finished as one of the league’s best in just about every category. From traditional stats like total yards and yards per attempt to advanced stats like DVOA.

Not to mention he hasn’t missed a single game due to injury and has proven that he can be a leader in the locker room. Prescott also has the “it” factor that has been displayed frequently as he improvises big plays. Last season, no QB had more touchdowns in passes longer than 40 yards other than Mahomes and Prescott. Whether you want to judge him by wins (you shouldn’t, really) or stats, Dak makes a case.

At the end of the day, though, his exact place in the rankings doesn’t matter as much as the Cowboys getting a deal done before July 15th. Hopefully, they work something out and Cowboys Nation can get anything resembling the peace of mind Kansas City fans should be feeling right now.

Tell me what you think about “How Many Quarterbacks Stand Between Prescott and Mahomes?” in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Mauricio Rodriguez

Written by Mauricio Rodriguez

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.

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  1. Well done article Mauricio! Ok if your putting it in terms of who would u sign for the next 4-5 yrs(which makes alot of sense) then the list is considerably shorter, and obviously under those terms Dak is top 10 for sure in fact I have him at #5. Looking at the starting QBs in the league makes me realize how many mediocre QBs other teams have, which makes Dak look that much better. This is my order under ur terms 1 Mahomes 2 Wilson 3.Jackson 4.Rodgers 5.Dak yes Rodgers is getting long in the tooth but i think he will play at a high level for another 4 yrs Looking at it thru that lens gives me a bit of a different perspective regarding Daks value. That’s only 4 QBs in the league I would would rather have then Dak……..hummmm makes u think

  2. I do not think “The fact that he will make more money than any other athlete in sports history speaks for itself.” is accurate, not even if you limit it to team sports; perhaps if you limited it to a single contract, but even then I am not sure. Mahomes will average 47.7 million per year for 10 years; for 2020 Lionel Messi made $72 million, Neymar made $70 million and Cristiano Ronaldo made $60 million (all not counting endorsements). Over the last 10 years Floyd Mayweather ($915 mm), Cristiano Ronaldo ($800 mm) Lionel Messi ($750 mm) million, LeBron James ($680 mm), Roger Federer and Tiger Woods all made a lot more according to Forbes. Rarefied air to be sure, but only beginning to get close to what top soccer stars earn.

  3. We are still forgetting that Dak, no matter the #’s, has still not won anything. I remember those crucial games when it was all on Dak to pull out the victory for us … and he threw yet ANOTHER off-target pass that killed us in “crunch-time”! It also seems like Dak forgot how to tuck the ball in and run it … when there was that huge 30 to 40 yard opening (several times) right in front of him, that could’ve been THE game-changer!
    This is why I cannot figure out why he thinks he’s worth what Wilson, Watson, Jackson, etc. are worth! I still say 5 years, $150 million, with half of each year fully guaranteed … is the REALISTIC #, BUT, to be fair, I’d give him 6 years, $210 million ($35 mil per), with $100 million guaranteed … and not 1¢ more. Okay, folks … blast me …

    • I don’t think he measures himself against Wilson, Watson, Jackson, and the like in terms of talent, stats, etc. Rather he (and his agency) is measuring himself against the market, which is fair and reasonable and just as I would advise my own son. In fact, I suspect you are earning the same salary the market has set for your field of expertise? Did you consider taking less because someone else making less money elsewhere think it’s “fair”? I thought not …

  4. Forgot about D Watson would rank him #5 drop DAK to #6 still not bad considering how bad most of the QBs are in the league.

  5. I guess I’m not in awe of Wilson the way many are, but I guess I have to have him at the top nonetheless. I also would need to see Jackson extend his success another year or two … we all thought the same of Robert Griffin III at one time too.

    If you are going to take Jackson’s short career and think he’ll continue, then I think it also fair to project the rookies. Burrow and Tua probably have more upside than Dak. And if you’re going to go the other way and say Rodgers still has a 4-5 year window, then Stafford too ranks well above Dak.

    Guys I’ll ignore because of age are Rodgers, Brees, Stafford, and Rivers, who would all rank ahead of Dak if I knew I could get 5 years out of them!

    I think Rivers ranks as one of the all-time most over-hyped/appreciated players in league history … if he makes the Hall of Fame, so too should Romo, but I’ll not pull that soapbox out at this moment!

    My list would be:
    Watson
    Murray
    Wilson
    Wentz
    Prescott
    Burrow
    Jackson
    Tua
    Garapollo

    I’d be leery about building a team around a talent like Jackson, maybe just because if he ever got hurt, your whole system is in trouble.

    • How can you rank Murry that high and not Jackson?? That don’t make any sense…. You just said you won’t rank Jackson that high after just saying you would need to see him play another year or 2, and Murray has literally just finished his first season!! And out of the 2 Jackson has played way better than Murray!! And then you have Wentz ahead of Dak too and that don’t make much sense either… He’s good but he’s constantly getting hurt!! He’s probably 1 good injury away from calling it a career!! You mite wanna rethink your list, that’s not a very good one!!

      • Tough morning for you, eh?

        I have Murray ahead of Jackson because I am projecting development over a 4-5 year window, which is the subject of this post, right?

        Having Jackson at #7 on a list of 9 is not high, but if you need help with that math, hit me back and I’ll hook you up.

        The Wentz/Dak is tough. I think Wentz has better skills and a higher ceiling than Dak, therefore I have him above Dak by a hair. I’m not projecting continued injuries in this exercise, but then I don’t have your crystal ball?

        Maybe I’m off my rocker, but the way I see it, all of these guys are one hit away from calling it a career! Sorry, I didn’t realize that held true for just Wentz.

  6. I would still take Rodgers for the next 4 yrs he’s still playing at a very high level. Not sold on Murray yet the guy is a midget and one big hit away from being obliterated. Wentz and Dak are pretty close right now, though when doing these ratings u have to look at durability and Dak has been an iron man versus Wentz who has been a China doll. I Like Jackson alot but he’s not a thick guy and the way he likes to run would scare me if he was my QB. Burrow looks like a can’t miss but with QBs who knows. Garapolo is a wild card here and could be top 5 . All things considered I would Dak put at about #6 which ain’t too shabby for our QB. I have been critical of Dak in the past but looks like he’s ranked pretty high here and still has some upside. Plus he is a terrific leader who is well respected by his teammate. He still has alot time to win some significant games. We could do worse cowboys fans. PAY HIM ALREADY

    • Rodgers is not still playing at a high level…. Did you not see how bad he played last season?? His defense was the reason that team won all those games, not him!! And Watson is good, but he hasn’t accomplished as much as Dak has yet!! And to reply to your 1st comment…. If your going by the terms of this story then Mahomes isn’t supposed to be on the list either!! So the list should look like this in my opinion
      1.Wilson
      2. Jackson
      3.Prescott
      4.Watson
      That’s how I think they should be listed!!

  7. Well it’s simply a matter of opinion and no one can say with certainly that one is better than the other. People state opinions like they are facts sometimes. My opinion is my opinion but I respect all opinions nonetheless. At any rate based on all these OPINIONS DAK seems pretty highly regarded by most and at worst is at least in the top five of guys you would like to have for the next 4-5 yrs. I’ll take that all day

  8. Bill in fairness a players injury history has to be factored into the equation. When ur talking about ur franchise QB U have to project everything.and its indisputable that Wentz has been injury prone since coming into the league. Whereas a guy like DAK has been the opposite. As they say the best predictor of someone’s future is their past. Also running QBs who are too enamored with running (Jackson, Murray) ) don’t have a good track for longevity in the NFL especially when they aren’t big guys. QBs who use their legs to create plays down field and run judiciously (Rodgers,WIson) have more if a proven track record and will ultimately stay on the field to help their respective teams. Personally i would like to see DAK tuck it and run a little more when the play breaks down. He’s a big strong guy who had proven his toughness and durability.

    • You are correct Gary … if I’m a GM and spending my owner’s money, I’d take that all into account. But I was working with what I thought the framework of what this post outlined. If I now add injury concerns, then I will also add the age factor gamble as well, and Dak tumbles from the fringes of the top-5 well into the middle tier of QB’s. Dak doesn’t own a single ‘elite’ skill, the only thing even remotely elite about Dak are his intangibles, and that does carry weight with me, but not to the extent that he is a top-tier QB. The only way Dak makes it into a top-5 list of QB’d is if you tighten the framework from which you can compose the list (as this post did).

  9. Agree his durability and toughness as well as the intangibles you have mentioned in the past do carry weight. He is well respected by his teammates and seems to exude confidence and a sense of calm which rubs off on his teammates. He does not however possess the important traits that the elite ones do such as supreme accuracy and inate pocket presence. I think if this coaching staff can play to his strengths and utilize him in the right way that could make all the difference in the world. He is what he is and with that said I still think he has some room for improvement although it will most likely be incremental.

    • Yup, and he is by no means a hinderance to championship aspirations for a team. In fact, he is quality enough to be valued as an asset and well above “game manager” status. To your point, I don’t think his skills have to advance too much for McCarthy to elevate his game. Just making play-action and rollouts part of the base offense could make all the difference in the world.

  10. When I watch the Cowboys play the Eagles, I get an uneasy feeling that Wentz can and will drive his team right down the field, where as with Prescott, I don’t have confidence he will do the same. I understand the injury negativity with Wentz, but I would rather have him over Prescott. Put Wentz on the Cowboys, more POST SEASON wins.

    So, under these parameters:
    Mahomes
    Wilson
    Jackson
    Watson
    Wentz
    Allen, YES, for the next 4 to5 years. Shows clutch gene, very underrated.
    Rodgers
    Prescott

    Now this does not mean Prescott is the eighth best QB in NFL. Obviously Brady and Brees are also better taking off the restrictions.

  11. Possibly the worst football acumen article in quite some time. Terrible analysis. He threw game ending ints and fumbles deep in his own territory to give away early pts, then puts up garbage stats. He couldn’t get 200 yards without 2 more 1st round WRs. Why does the defense suck? Because you have to have 1st rounders all over the offense. He’s injured now. He’s tagged so we roll with Dalton, who came in cold and marched down the field. Time for a team that has a QB that doesn’t need all pros all over the O to win a game.

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