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No, the Dallas Cowboys Shouldn’t Trade for Matthew Stafford

The debate is inevitable. With Dak Prescott entering another offseason where his long-term contractual status is uncertain, many will begin to think the Dallas Cowboys could do better at quarterback by looking elsewhere.

You’ve already seen the debate about whether the Cowboys should trade Prescott for Deshaun Watson, even though there’s an argument to be made that Prescott is the better quarterback. As Adam Schefter reported on Saturday, it looks like the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford are looking to move on from each other this offseason.

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Breaking: The Lions and QB Matthew Stafford are expected to part ways this offseason, with Detroit listening to trade offers starting next week, per @AdamSchefter. pic.twitter.com/SPk6cFMdZY

While Stafford might make sense for an NFL team out there, it makes little sense for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.

First of all, the Cowboys would be forced to give up assets for a quarterback five years older than Dak Prescott. Stafford’s a good quarterback, don’t get me wrong, but what has he done exactly that makes him an upgrade over Dak Prescott in 2021 and in the future?

And at 32 years old with just two years left on his deal, Stafford could be in line for his own long-term contract extension either this offseason with his new team or next. With QB money continuing to skyrocket, Stafford and his representatives will see an opportunity to cash in on a lucrative deal at least one more time.

Or as Pash (@TheAmir) said on Twitter.

“Also, does anyone think that Stafford won’t want an extension from the new team? He’s got two modest years left. And if you give up resources to get him, you’re gonna invest so that he doesn’t leave.”

So the Cowboys give up picks or your best asset in Dak Prescott to get a quarterback older than him, and this year or next, the Cowboys have to pay him. And probably what they would have had to pay Prescott on a per-year basis or more.

I’m just not sure what he’s done that makes him a better option than Dak Prescott.

The Lions, with Stafford at quarterback, have more losing seasons than they do winning seasons. Wins are a team stat, but you’d expect them to be better than that with a quarterback who is seemingly as good as Stafford has been in his career.

In 12 seasons, Matthew Stafford has had a passer rating over 90, only 58.3% of the time (seven seasons). Dak Prescott has had a passer rating over 90 four out of his first five seasons or 80% of the time. Each has had a passer rating better than 100 in a season once, but Prescott has two seasons with 99.7 and 99.6 passer ratings.

Looking at ESPN’s Total QBR, Prescott has had three seasons with a QBR above 70. Stafford has had just one season. Prescott’s 55.2 Total QBR in 2018, his worst season in terms of this statistic, would rank seventh among all of Stafford’s. Prescott’s 2016, 2019, and 2020 are each better than Stafford’s best season.

Here’s a deep dive from ESPN on how they compute Total QBR.

Matthew Stafford will end up on a team that is a quarterback away. The San Francisco 49ers make a lot of sense. The Dallas Cowboys, however, don’t make sense.

Dak Prescott is a better quarterback than Matthew Stafford is at this point in their careers. Prescott’s younger and has already been better than Stafford. And the best thing…

Dak Prescott is in his prime and still improving.

What do you think?

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. I agree…. The only way I’d consider Stafford is if he came in as the backup to Dak!! There’s no way I’d give up Dak for Stafford!!

  2. Hope Dak comes back ready to go , but also want
    Him to have competition at QB as well.
    Team has quite a few needs Defence and O line
    And not a lot of money under the cap. Want
    Them to be a better team overall not just on
    Offence. Think teams needs overall out weigh
    His need for a giant contract that could hurt
    Them for years to come like big Ben’s Pittsburg
    Contract.

  3. i agree Stafford is past his prime… i am not sure that after 4 years Dak will improve much more. the team plays from behind alot and he does not show the ability to carry the team. when your best year basically is your first and you have been a slightly better than .500 record since…I am not sure a long term commitment for a QB like that is any better than Kirk Cousins so why do we act like he is so much better. a QB who is oftern overlooked in cowboys history…Danny White at least led the team to 3 championship games and lost. we havent gotten past the divisional round and 2 times had 13 wins. spending 34-38 million on a good QB when we have so many holes and could use the money elsewhere on defense and more depth on the O-line makes so much more sense. look at the Pats they spread the money around and dont overpay a few guys they know they need to constantly rebuild and do it. I think Dak is a great person but i dont think he can lead the team taking that much money from the cap… he can/does make way more in endorsements…if he wants to win/lead…prove it!! and do it more than one year. as a fan i need a leader not a fantasy league qb

  4. If we can’t get a deal with Dak I wouldn’t mind giving ole Drew Brees a shot! I believe he has a few more seasons left in him and he could take this team to the SB!

  5. NO ONE REALLY THINKS Cowboys would trade DP for Stafford. This seems to be just ANOTHER article pumping up DP. This “debate” is only appearing in articles, etc. like this one. This is the kind of article that makes me want to play devils advocate, because of all the over the top, glossy accolades.

    DP led us to ONE win in five games he played this year, and that was thanks to a gift from the FLUBBING FALCONS. How exactly is that GOOD?

    I for, one, DO NOT CARE ABOUT ALL THE GARBAGE TIME PASSING YARDS DP RACKS UP, when we are down for 30, 40 points. I will leave that to the FANTASY players. GIVE ME WINS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY POSTSEASON WINS.

    Riddle me this Batman. Tom Brady, playing for ANOTHER CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TODAY, has won SIX SUPER BOWLS and has NFL RECORD MOST PLAYOFF WINS at 32.

    Brady makes $25 million per year, and DP thinks he is worth $40+ million???

    EXACTLY, how does DP with his ONE WHOLE PLAYOFF WIN in five year, figure he is worth $40+ million per year???.

    Why do some apparently uninformed people conflate DP with a Pat Mahomes, who actually won a SUPER BOWL and is playing for another CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TODAY. Somehow because Mahomes is making X amount of money, DP should be in that same area. How EXACTLY does DP get elevated monetarily up to that level, without NOWHERE near the same results???

    Well some will say, he is in his “prime” and will get better. How exactly do we know that??? His track record clearly does not show he is getting better. His FIRST year was actually his best, 13 wins, thank you EE. This year, ONE MIRACLE WIN, thanks Falcons. Last year 8 wins. IN THE WORST DIVISION IN THE NFL. How is that improving?

    Cowboys would be STUPID to pay this guy fantasy money. Somehow trade this faux superstar and draft a promising rookie QB. Save money, save DRAMA, and maybe get to a SUPER BOWL sooner, because DP DOES NOT HAVE IT IN HIM. He is a second tier QB, pumped up to first tier by sports media.

    TRACK RECORD!!!

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Grab Trask or Wilson if either fall to 10 which I don’t think they will. If not Farley or surtain will suffice. Then grab Desmond ridder from cincy in rd 3 or 4 if he’s still there and roll with him at QB. Daks gonna want crazy money and coming off that injury I’m sorry but it does affect the mind while ur playing. It’ll set there in the back of his head everytime he goes to scramble or see some blitzing. He’s not gonna be the same.

  7. I agree with everything VAM said, plus the article mentions Dak being in the same league as Watson – on what planet ?!? EVERY GM in history would trade Dak for Watson straight up; saying otherwise means you no nothing of sports

  8. Agreed VAM , ppl just propping Dak up on this pedestal when he’s not that good, he’s decent but he’s not a top 10 QB, and for the ppl who gonna bring up Dak’s “Career High Stats” I say to you THEN WHY DID THE BUCS GET RID OF JAMEIS WINSTON WHO LEAD THE LEAGUE IN PASSING YARDS BEFORE THEY MOVED OFF HIM AND BROUGHT IN A 43 YEAR OLD TOM BRADY ? The Bucs are in the Super Bowl, Jameis wouldn’t have done that, I will say i wouldn’t trade for Stafford BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THERE AREN’T OTHER OPTIONS, D Watson is better than Dak , stats may show they kinda equal but like i said, I don’t care what stats you put up, I CARE HOW YOU PUT THOSE STATS UP AND DID THEY LEAD TO WINS, when D Watson has put up stats and he has been since he’s been in the league, he’s had an average at best D and now this last year one of the WORST and an AWFUL O-Line that got slightly better with adding Tunsil through trade but still NOT GOOD, he made it to a playoff game and won one playoff game with that, the best player he had got traded to Arizona in D Hop, and yet he led the league in passing yards with Will Fuller who was his best target and he got suspended for like the last 6 games of the season. You look at Dak and what he had at the start of his career IMAGINE IF D WATSON HAD WHAT DAK HAD, Dak had Zeke who at the start of there careers who was the BEST RB IN THE NFL AND IT’S NO DISCUSSION, THE BEST O-LINE IN THE NFL NOT EVEN CLOSE, and a decent D, that was Dak’s best year and since then the O-Line has gotten older and worse overtime, Zeke was getting worse, and the D was good for 1 year and been not very good since then, WHO DO YOU THINK HAD THE BETTER SUPPORTING CAST, DAK OR D WATSON ? It isn’t even CLOSE, Dak had a better cast of players at the start of his career than D Watson and yet D Watson matched what Dak did with 1 playoff win, IMO if D Watson would’ve played with this team last year, we would’ve won division anyways and the first 4 games would’ve been a lot closer than what they were, with the weapons Dak had on offense with Cooper, Ceedee, and Gallup, decent TEs, and an O-Line even with all the injuries was just as good as Texans O-Line, D Watson is better QB PLAIN AND SIMPLE

    anyone who disagrees is FOOLING THEMSELVES AND CAN’T SEE THROUGH THEIR BIAS FOR DAK

  9. And i almost forgot D Watson tore his ACL in his rookie year and just played 7 games, if he wouldn’t have done that the stats between Dak and Watson wouldn’t be close

  10. I love how the fact that most cowboys fans have gotten so SPOILED to having the best O-Line in the NFL, and if we don’t then it’s one of the worst in the NFL, there’s no in between. I ask you, HOW MANY TEAMS IN THE NFL CAN AFFORD TO LOSE MOST OF THERE BEST O-LINEMAN AND STILL BE A DECENT O-LINE ? NO ONE, the only ones would be teams that have like Mahomes, or maybe A Rod, or Lamar Jackson, but still there O-Lines would be AWFUL, and the fact that our O-Line had those type of injuries, our O-Line for the year was 26 ranked per PFF which is bad but the Bengals O-Line ranked 30th and yet Joe Burrow looked like he might be right there with Dak as far as QB play, and the Chargers O-Line ranked LAST IN THE NFL and yet Justin Herbert broke the most passing yards in a rookie season, most passing TDs by a Rookie, most total TDs by a Rookie, and he has the record for youngest QB to throw 30 passing TDs, IF ONLY HE HAD THE BEST O-LINE IN THE NFL LIKE DAK DID IN HIS ROOKIE YEAR, WHAT KIND OF NUMBERS WOULD HE PUT UP THEN ?

  11. It’s all about the agents, they want to prop up these QBs who aren’t as good as they’re getting paid so they can continue to raise the bar for the QBs that do deserve that kind of money get bumped up even more cuz they clearly better than these other QBs and the more money those QBs make the more the agents make, it’s all about money and greediness

  12. Cowboys should have traded Prescott for Stafford. No brainer. Detroit would have given picks to obtain Prescott. Use the picks to draft a QB or trade them for more picks. Cowboys will never get back to winning by playing this game over and over. Prescott not worth the $40 million per year. That will kill the team with the salary cap for years. Look at every other team that has had to pay their QB on the second contract. Teams all fell off a cliff.

    Goodbye Cowboys!!!!!

  13. I would like for Cowboys draft a quarterback!! Prescott cant deliver. He wants his money for not delivery a Championship!
    Lets draft one in first round this time! When was Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach drafted??

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