Five years ago, the Los Angeles Rams traded up to acquire the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and selected Jared Goff. After a couple of good seasons that saw the Rams reach the Super Bowl in 2018, they've decided to move on from Goff in a trade with the Detroit Lions to acquire Matthew Stafford.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Rams send Jared Goff, two future first-round picks, and a third for Stafford.
Detroit is dealing QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two future first-round picks, a third-round pick and QB Jared Goff, per sources. Two former No. 1 overall picks trading places in the first blockbuster NFL trade of 2021.
The Rams get a better quarterback to help maximize their win-now window. The Lions get a couple of first-round picks and a quarterback that may need a change of scenery. And all of that for a quarterback who is in his 30's and isn't a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.
The Rams were willing to take a “whatever it takes” approach to getting better at the most important position on the field. This is why it continues to boggle the minds of many that the Dallas Cowboys have yet to come to an agreement with their franchise quarterback. Prescott is objectively better than Stafford. All the more reason for the Cowboys to get a deal finalized with Dak Prescott.
While others in the 2016 quarterback class have gotten worse, created more doubt about their long-term viability, or now have been traded, Dak Prescott has shown progression each season.
The Cowboys could have had a deal worked out with Dak Prescott at any point in the 2019 or 2020 offseasons but opted to play hardball at the position while handing out contracts to Ezekiel Elliott, La'el Collins, and Jaylon Smith. While Prescott is ascending, each of those players have created question marks with their performance, or in the case of Collins, his injury situation.
The Cowboys have one of the 5-10 best quarterbacks in the NFL in his prime. It really should be a no-brainer, and at the same time, they've opted to go the difficult route here. And sure, Dak and his representatives played a part in this as well, but if reports are correct that the major hang-up was over whether the deal should be four or five years, then the Cowboys played themselves. They could have had this done two years ago at a much lower average annual salary and had Dak locked up through his prime. They severely overrated the difference between a four and five-year contract. Sure, the Cowboys wanted one extra year of control, but now that they got it, they'll have to pay out even more in terms of average annual salary for Dak Prescott's next contract.
They should have seen the writing on the wall with the way contracts have inflated over the last few years. Every position has seen massive increases in the total, the guaranteed, and the average annual salaries on the contracts. Of course, the quarterback position would escalate faster. Again, it's the most important position on the field. They shouldn't have been surprised by what Dak Prescott was looking for with the way the market was heading.
Now with the first quarterback domino to fall this offseason, the Cowboys will be centerstage. How the next few months go will have a marked impact on the future of this franchise. Like the Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys need to be unafraid to go all-in on Dak Prescott.