Cowboys ownership regained leverage on Dak Prescott. But the QB's worth goes beyond stats.
Dak Prescott threw 106 touchdown passes for the Dallas Cowboys. He has won 43 games, including one in the playoffs, as starting quarterback. He has led 15 victories.
He's a very, very good NFL quarterback. He's likely to be back after surgery on Sunday night to fix a gruesome leg injury the 27-year-old sustained in a 37:34 win over the New York Giants.
His recovery time is expected to be four to six months, so the 2020 season will be rotated. That means the Cowboys and their best-known star will be entering another off-season with the long-term contract status in the air. Prescott played under a one-year franchise name that season and grossed $ 31.4 million.
Dallas franchises him again, with the salary rising to $ 37.69 million? Are the cowboys trying to sign a multi-year contract despite uncertainties about the injury and / or future salary caps (league revenue has declined due to COVID-19)?
Everything is in the air now.
Turned down a lucrative, lengthy deal last off-season, Prescott bet on himself, his health and Dallas' ability to win big this season. He played well but the cowboys didn't win as they are only 2-3. Wins come in close matches against opponents who are 0-10 together. And now he's hurt.
That was the risk he was taking. It is the reality he is facing now.
Dak Prescott is out with a dislocated ankle, an injury that is expected to take four to six months to heal. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Obviously, the injury is a major disadvantage for Prescott. The rehab will be extensive and although optimism is very high here, no one knows exactly what the recovery will be like. Also, Andy Dalton is now the Dallas quarterback and has the chance to revive his career after Cincinnati with a range of offensive weapons (Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup).
We will see.
For Dak, however, the injury revealed - or cemented - an important truth.
It's much more than a statistical line.
The reaction of teammates, coaches, staff, and even opponents to the compound break went beyond the normal worries and desires that often arise when someone is seriously injured.
The other cowboys, in particular, rallied by his side and spent the game using his fall as motivation for victory. When Elliott scored in the fourth quarter, he went straight to the camera and held up four fingers to call Prescott's jersey number.
"Our leader," said Elliott afterwards.
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"He's really impressed me in my short time with him," said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy in his first year. "He's clearly the leader of this soccer team."
That should count for something. A lot. Prescott is the definition of a franchise quarterback that teams covet more than anything. He's not the best quarterback in the league. He's not Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, or Aaron Rodgers. However, he is not far behind them in the field and he is at least equal to them.
Dallas is not the easiest place to play with the spotlight of attention and moonlighting team owner moonlighting as general manager.
Prescott has proven that he can handle all of this and help teammates do it too. Whatever tough feelings were from last off-season contract negotiations, or what weird distance seems to exist between Jerry Jones and Prescott, he arrived at his best this season. And he continued to rule his teammates and coaches.
There's also a chance Dallas will find out what's missing now where he's missing.
We'll see again, but even Jones admitted that this wasn't a normal response to injury and that it has value.
"The pouring out of news I received of his setback speaks volumes to the respect and admiration he has earned from his teammates, ex-cowboy players and cowboy supporters everywhere," Jones said in a statement. "We have no doubt that he will return to the position of leadership and purpose that he brings to our team."
What is Prescott worth for the future? Should he be the highest paid player in the league? Should he come north of $ 40 million a season?
Leverage has now shifted to property, but even with an injury, Dak Prescott showed something. Maybe that's enough for Dallas. Maybe it's somewhere else.
However, it goes beyond the statistics sheet and this is where games and championships are often won.
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