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Rams Go All-In on Matthew Stafford, Cowboys Should too with Dak Prescott

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.

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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.

What do you think?

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. This writer really should realize this trade was not about either QB.
    This was an NBA type trade of players that was actually about trading draft picks for cap space.
    The real trade was 2 first and a 3rd from LA for 25 million in cap from Detroit. The players were just the carriers for the cap and neither team wants either player.

  2. Might want to check the facts. This trade was largely about the Rams getting out from under Goff’s absurd contract . . .but your solution is to take a similar QB and pay him absurd money?

    Oh yeah, Rams have a great defense. … Dallas’ D needs a complete rebuild. Maybe you can do a column on how Da Boys rebuild a D with no cap space?

    Just sayin’

    Here’s an idea, let Dak walk, trade a 3rd to Iggles for Wentz.

  3. Only time will tell which team got the better of it. Just from player numbers alone, 4 potential players including Goff + 3rd rounder this yr, 1st rounders in 2022 and 2023, vs Stafford, it looks like Detroit came out ahead. However, Detroit does have to take on Goff’s contract.

    No disrespect to Stafford, but on the surface it looks like Rams got the worst of it, IMO. Goff MAY be a second tier QB, but one that did lead his team to a SUPER BOWL. Kind of surprised by giving up TWO 1st rounders on top. I guess Rams think they have filled the missing piece that will get them over the top in next year or two?

  4. It is debatable that DP has “ascended”. If one strictly looks at his personal stats, then maybe? yes.
    If one looks at TEAM WINS and TEAM standing, than no. WHEN does DP actually play well and when he does not. Well just LOOK at his record against good teams and bad teams. Last year he beat one good team – the Rams. Very revealing to say the least, especially looking at the LAST TWO YEARS when he has been “ascending”.

    Also debatable is which side was playing “hardball”. IF Cowboys wanted a five year deal and DP side wanted four years, and deal stalled, who to say which side was at fault and PLAYED this HARDBALL?

    Look, one thing we know for sure, Cowboys have offered DP many generous contracts and he REFUSED every one. It has been reported one was for $175 MILLION. That is fact, not opinion.

    Also bringing up the Zeke, Collins, and Smith deals, maybe those contracts had a type of second thoughts effect on the front office. Maybe they see how these LONG TERM deals have bit them in the ass and are less inclined to just go all in now. Maybe they aren’t totally sold on DP. Also should DP be afforded to ride the coat tails of other QBs that have produced much better results i e SUPER BOWL WINS, etc.

    Do RESULTS STILL MATTER in the way anyone should be compensated. Or do “massive salary increases” dictate how a player is paid, with no regard to the actual end results.

  5. Signs and trade Dak Prescott, during his value is invaluable, Cowboys might get two first draft or more, so they can find the young draft QB in future.

  6. Stafford is a greatly underrated QB , they the favorite to win it all now IMO , you wanna debate check his stats he put up in Detroit, and that was without a coach for his entire career and other than Calvin Johnson, he never had any great players , now in LA, he got McVay, receivers, and a D with Donald and Ramsey, I believe Rams got better deal , but that depends on if they win it all , if they don’t then Detroit probably got better end of trade , this was a win now move by the Rams , they knew they had only a limited amount of time before they gonna start losing some guys , they got Akers who looks like he can easily be one of if not the best RB in the NFL, they got everything they need to win it all , they were just handicapped with Goff, he wasn’t real mobile, wasn’t a downfield guy either , he more like a Alex Smith so yeah I think this was a good move by Rams , but time will tell

    Now as far as Dak , I like him but it’s LUDICROUS to pay him between Watson and Mahomes money, I don’t care how high the cap is gonna go , you talking about the best QB in football and many ppl would argue, D Watson is the 2nd best QB in NFL cuz of lack of weapons and lack of team , and lack of coach altogether, give him Matt LaFleur, D Adams , and A Jones and see what happens ,

    To me I’d do a trade for D Watson for Dak, (on transition Tag ) a 1st in 2022 , and a 4th , roll with Watson we’d only have to pay from what I heard only 30 mill a year which is CHEAP cuz of the signing bonus I believe has been paid off already, we get some guys on D still in this draft and we’re set to go , D Watson is better than Dak I don’t care what you Dak lovers bring up as far as stats, he ain’t D Watson PERIOD.

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