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Re-sign Dak Prescott or Draft, Examining the Future of Cowboys’ QB Position?

Breaking down Cowboys’ QB options beyond the 2020 season.

Decisions… Decisions… Decisions… That's what the Dallas Cowboys now face as they enter their for the . Not only do they have to take into consideration how they want to finish out the year, but they also have to keep the future in mind as well. It's that future I want to discuss today, especially as it pertains to the quarterback position.

With the way this year has gone the Dallas Cowboys face the tough decision as to whether or not they want to try to retain Dak Prescott beyond 2020 or draft one of the top QBs in the 2021 . With a Top 5 pick in hand right now (third overall) the Cowboys definitely have to consider both options.

One way or another, the Dallas Cowboys should mark significant change. How much change though depends on what direction they decide to go at QB. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at the financial ramifications of retaining Dak Prescott and that of drafting a rookie QB.

Let's get started… Shall we?

Dak is Back! Franchise tag or Long-term Extension?

Franchise tag

$37.7 million is what it would cost the Dallas Cowboys to slap Dak Prescott with the for the second year in a row. This would make him only the second QB in the of the league to play on the franchise tag for two seasons, the other being (2016, 2017). That's a hefty price tag to pay for what could be a one-year rental, especially for a player coming off a serious ankle . But, it's still probably the more affordable option for the Cowboys compared to locking Prescott up long-term.

Long-term Extension

That $37.7 million franchise tag looks a lot more reasonable compared to the kind of money Dak Prescott and his representatives will likely be seeking for his next contract. The Dallas Cowboys have and to thank for that. Both players reset the QB market with their contract extensions this year, which at the very least gives the Cowboys better parameters to work with. That of course is both good and bad.

The Chiefs will be paying Mahomes $45 million annually for the next 10 years and Watson will be making $39 million per season with the Texans. Prescott's next contract will likely fall somewhere in the middle of the two, which means it wouldn't be all that surprising to see him sign a deal that earns him approximately $40 million annually. Prescott being two years their senior and coming off a serious ankle injury could lessen that a bit, but that's a pretty accurate ballpark figure regardless.

2021 NFL Draft: Benefits of a Rookie QB

Loss after loss continues to firmly cement the Dallas position in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. As things stand right now they are slotted within the Top 5 (3rd overall), which puts them within striking distance of any of the top QBs. That puts both Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in the crosshairs, but don't overlook . He's quickly rising up draft boards.

Regardless of the name the Dallas Cowboys could possibly write down on their draft card, the benefits of having their starting QB on a rookie contract could possibly be too enticing to pass up. The biggest benefit of course for the Cowboys drafting a rookie QB would be the financial ramifications, which of course is one of the biggest factors in personnel decisions.

The are on the books for just $5.5M in cap for No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa this season. Cincinnati is on the hook for $6.5M for No. 1 overall pick this season. Now I'm no math expert, but that equates to approximately $31 million less the Dallas Cowboys would have to pay to retain Dak Prescott either on the franchise tag or long-term extension.

That $31 million in savings could be utilized to re-tool and restock the rest of the roster. That could be invested in several more starting caliber additions instead of being used to retain Prescott. Financially speaking it makes sense to turn to a rookie QB, but that's a decision the Dallas Cowboys will have to decide for themselves.

The Verdict

An argument can be made the Dallas Cowboys wouldn't be wrong to go one way or the other. Moving on from a known commodity like Dak Prescott for an unknown one no matter how highly rated they are coming out of the draft no doubt carries a little bit of risk. However, the small risk involved could be offset by the amount of salary-cap space created by having your starting QB on a rookie contract.

As much as I like Dak Prescott I'd be hard-pressed not to draft one of the top QBs in the 2021 NFL Draft if I were the Cowboys. That previously mentioned $31 million in savings could then be utilized to upgrade several of the “need” positions with sure-fire starting caliber . In doing so that would lessen the need to hit on as many draft picks, although those still remain extremely important.

Should the Dallas Cowboys draft a QB or retain Dak Prescott?


Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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Can’t afford 40M. Thats your answer.


If Dak was willing to take a more incentive laden contract that would allow him to still make his money if his performance warranties it then I say sign Dak, but if he’s hell bent on breaking the bank then jys draft a QB if you land inside the top 3 picks.

Cowboy Fan Ed

I believe we need to sign Dak IF the money is reasonable! I don’t care who is coming out of college all these guys are unproven and it may take years to get them to where they understand the Pro game! At least we know what we have with Dak! BUT the money has to be reasonable! Teams that are signing their QB’s to these unbelievable contracts are eventually going to die simply because they can’t supply their teams with quality athletes in other positions ! One other thought….. if we can’t do a deal with Dak I wouldn’t mind us getting a veteran like Matthew Stafford

J E Carter

Prescott is only one player. The roster limit stands at 53 with 2 temporary elevations from the practice squad. Obligating a significant percentage of the cap to one player relegates staffing the team with players of lesser ability and/or experience, a sure fire way to retain mediocrity or less. The Cowboys will do much better with many upper tier players than just one highly regarded player. If Prescott is paid the money he’s asking, forget any realistic run at winning the Super Bowl. The supporting “cast” will be inferior and the ultimate blame shifted to the coaches–inappropriately. The track record after Prescott’s rookie season is only so-so, last year 8-8 and continued this season up to injury status, definitely not indicative of the pie-in-the-sky dream of success.

Mr T

Dak is making his stats but not leading the team. Sign a high end rookie while we still can.


Jerry blowing smoke up all of our dresses. He loves dak but money talks. If the cowboys have a chance at fields or Lawrence. You bet your bottom dollar he’s gonna grab one of them. Just like they grabbed lamb at 17 this past draft having Gallup and Cooper already on the roster with other needed spots filled. You don’t let talent like that slip away.
Only way they don’t take one of the 2 is if they get a kings ransom to trade back a few spots. And hope they can get a decent deal with dak.

J S Moore

Let Dak walk and take ZE (21) with him

gary b

So what happens if we don’t get Lawrence or Fields? Which by the way is a good possibility. Yes Dak is only one player, but he’s really good and he plays by far the most important position on the team. I understand the implications if we sign Dak for 40 MIL and how that hampers our ability to build up the team around him, and that’s why I agree we should take one of the top 2 QBs if given the opportunity. However I’m hesitant to waste a top 5 pick reaching for another QB that is on the tier below those two. We might not get a pick this high for a long time, so we really need to make sure we get a high impact type player.

College QBs even so called “can’t miss one’s” have a high bust rate, not to mention that by the time they develop (if they do) they are already up for a 2nd contract. I’m not saying don’t draft one with our first pick, just need to do our due diligence and look at all options. Thoughts?

Chuck Wright

Can we still give Dak the Franchise tag that allows him to negotiate elsewhere but if he signs, we get 2 1st rounders? If so, tell him to see who will over pay and we’d consider matching.

Let’s keep in mind, team had a losing record when he went down. Not all his fault but you have to wonder if he’s worth the price tag.

Of course starting Dalton tells me the Cowboy brass doesn’t realize what they have in GG.


How long does one have to see this merry-go-round spin to finally see the writing on the wall. Put an end to this Prescott drama, holding our team hostage, holding us back, with his ridiculous contract demands. Now add in the injury? IMO, should have been done last year. Maybe could have moved up and got Hebert!

At this point if anyone of these three QBs, TL, JF, or Zach Wilson, are available, It should be a DONE DEAL. Prescott STILL living off his rookie year in 2016, when ZEKE was ZEKE. If and when Prescott comes back in 2021, he’ll have ONE post season to his name. Prescott NOT CLOSE to Mahomes’ level. “Prescott and his reps can seek” whatever, does not mean the Cowboys will neglect the rest of the team, to overpay an overrated QB.

Stephen gregory

Cowboys always say “Draft the best player available.” I have read more times than I care to count that it is the best player available and not the ” best player that fits our need. ” How many times has there been a great safety sitting on everyone’s draft board that they pass by because, for some unknown reason, they just don’t value the safety position that well to spend a mid 1st round pick on one. If they wind up a top three pick, they absolutely should get a top quarterback if he is the best player available. The Dak question will work itself out. Maybe you have your next quarterback learning for a year. Favre/Rodgers comes to mind. Montana/Young comes to mind. Yes, you will have a lot of money invested at one position for at least a year on the tag. It’s not like we don’t have $90,000,000 invested in a single running back which seems like a ridiculous contract for a guy who should have continued to play on his rookie deal. That was a big part of the collective bargaining agreement. Then, the players decide they want to not honor their contract and the owner decides to sidestep what everyone decided on in collective bargaining. They should have never given Elliot that kind of money. They should have gotten Dak under contract when it was a little less than what it will be now. They should get the best player in the draft and, if it is a quarterback, so be it.


Transition Tag? Why do we never see this option mentioned?

Dalton E

If you’re shooting for the Super Bowl in 2026-2030, dump Prescott and any other starters over the age of 26. You can’t do a “Herschell Walker” trade using Prescott because you don’t own him. None of the others would get that much. Personally, I think dumping Prescott would set the Cowboy’s record for stupidity. Fortunately, I think Jerry and Steven agree. The only way to get to the Super Bowl on a budget is to find some way to acquire about six or seven first and second round picks for two years in a row, and be lucky with some of the lower round picks.

Mark R

Oh boy! Can’t wait till Dallas lands the next Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold or Mitchell Trubisky. You think Dallas is any better at evaluating QBs than Philly, NY or Chicago? What odds will you give me that Dallas lands the next Wentz rather than the next Mahomes?

Gary b

VAM- I’m leaning towards ur way of thinking in regards to moving on from Dak. They had a chance before this yr to sign him for cheaper and now they might not be able to afford him. But we are in a position I never anticipated which is having our choice of one of the top QBs in the draft. But I’m not sure about Wilson. He wasn’t good last yr and look at the 5 teams he has faced this yr very weak competition. He’s obviously talented but is he worthy of a top 5 pick? We can’t miss on that pick, we need to get a difference maker. QBs are often times overvalued due to the importance of the position. We can’t reach for a player and waste that pick. That would really set this team back. We need playmakers especially on defense.

Part of this determination would be where we end up picking and how the draft board falls. Brian what do you think the chances are that we tag him and trade him? Trades are very complicated I know, but if we could get good draft capital coupled with our existing picks, that could be franchise changing. But we gotta come out of this with a good QB. Without one nothing else matters.

Gary b

Mark- That’s my fear wasting our high pick by reaching for a QB. I’m good with either Lawrence or Fields, but anyone else I would be very careful. T Lance and Wilson are in the next tier and the gulf between the top tier and 2nd tier appears pretty wide.

Look at it this way do we want a 2nd tier QB or our pick of the #1 player in college at other positions of need. LT P. Sewell LB M Parsons and CB P Surtain are near can’t miss prospects at positions of needs. And yes LT and LB are positions of need, what with the health of T Smith and LVE and the deterioration of J Smith.


We need to move on from Dak. He has proven repeatedly that he is not clutch, or able to finish comebacks. From 2017 until now, he has struggled mightily against elite teams. If he want to be a mediocre forever pay Dak. If we want to win Super Bowls draft Trevor or Justin, plus there are a lot of good quarterbacks that will come out and elevate their teams.


If the cowboys spend big or crazy on DAK , like they did zeke, Lawrence,smith the cap money will degrade the talent of this team for another terrible decade


Either offer the non-exclusive franchise tag, which the Cowboys should have done this last year, or let him walk. Dak is higa great guy, but the non-exclusive tag will show his true market value and if he leaves get some high comp. picks. Too many holes to fill for a $40 million dollar QB who led Dallas to an 8–8 record last year in a very weak division, has a bad record vs. teams with winning records, and has “inflated” numbers due to playing from behind and vs. weaker opponents.

Kendrick Smith

If the Cowboys don’t draft Lawrence … And appears that they will not get the 1st or 2nd pick, then they should invest in the defense during the Draft. Then retain Dak. I don’t think the ankle injury is career ending. I also think they should consider shopping Zeke … Not because of his production … I don’t think the RB and WR positions warrant high dollars anymore. QBs, O-Line and Defense win games and deserve the big bucks!

phil b

i would not take fields…name me one QB out of Ohio State that has been of any value in….; forever!!!

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