When the Dallas Cowboys were 3-0 and quarterback Dak Prescott was an early MVP candidate, many close to the team’s orbit speculated that he’d done enough to justify his reported $40 million-per-year price tag.
Now, with the Cowboys falling to 3-2, losers of consecutive games, those same folks are playing devil’s advocate. If Prescott bumped his value during Dallas’ winning streak, do those millions become nullified due to this losing skid?
Doesn’t work that way.
Negotiating what could be the richest QB deal in NFL history isn’t a black-and-white process; it’s grayer than the walls that line The Star. And Cowboys owner Jerry Jones strongly pushed back against anyone suggesting otherwise.
“Well, first of all, the narrative about his financial as opposed to how he’s playing is laughable. It’s just not that way,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan, per the team’s official website. “It’s too much on both ends of that for both ends of the team and for Dak to equate his performance, stats, or won-loss these first two or three games.”
Jones added, “Let me get that real clear. It’s not impacting that with me at all. But I do see Dak showing the ability to handle adversity and basically go out and make the kind of plays that win important games for the Cowboys in the future. I see that.”
Following a scorched-earth start to the season in which Prescott notched seven passing touchdowns to just two interceptions, trouncing subpar competition, the fourth-year field general has leveled off. He was held without a TD pass in Week 4 and tossed three interceptions in Week 5 — both losses to elite opponents.
Through five games, Prescott has completed 119 of 171 balls (69.6 percent) for 1,606 yards, 11 TDs and six INTs. He set a career high with 463 yards through the air Sunday against Green Bay, but his turnovers were backbreakers, the difference in a two-possession defeat.
“I think it tells you right where you are,” Jones said Sunday evening, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You do well against teams that are getting it together. We played two that have it together better. They are 4-1 teams. I think what you see is what you get here. We got some work to do to be where we want to go this year.
As of this writing, the Cowboys and Prescott remain at odds in months-long extension talks. The two-time Pro Bowler apparently is content playing out the final year of his rookie deal, which will have paid $2.02 million for 2019.
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Jerry Lauds Dak’s Toughness
Justifiably agitated with the result against Green Bay, Jones took a tough-love approach with Prescott and Co., muttering frustration during the game and pulling zero verbal punches in his postgame remarks.
But there were a few instances where Jerry was encouraged by Dak’s effort. He praised him for his gutsy fourth-quarter scramble which resulted in a first down and temporarily kept hope alive, and for closing a massive 31-3 deficit with a second-half explosion.
“There’s not but one way to see it, and that’s when you get in those critical situations,” Jones said, per the team’s website. “I’ve seen guys’ knees buckle when they get in that spot. Dak’s don’t. And, so, from that standpoint these trying times give you another read to look at. When expectations are up, when everybody knows he’s getting in the huddle, things aren’t going good. The momentum is going the other way so to speak. Well, I see Dak step up there and continue to make the play.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL