By April 29, the Dallas Cowboys should have their quarterback situation settled.
If for some reason they don’t, and the 2021 starter isn’t named “Dak Prescott,” the team might settle it another way — a way that few see coming now, on Feb. 18.
In a recent mailbag, reporter David Helman of the Cowboys’ official website floated the possibility of Dallas drafting a signal-caller, presumably Prescott’s replacement, with its first-round choice (No. 10 overall).
“If they can’t get Dak signed long-term by April, they need to be thinking about using a first-round pick on a quarterback,” Helman wrote. “They already developed a fourth-round pick into a star quarterback – his name is Dak Prescott. The odds of doing that again are slim to none. If they don’t pay Dak, they need to be ready to invest much bigger assets into finding his replacement.”
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Don’t Bet On It
Assuming they stay put at 10, Jerry and Stephen Jones won’t have their pick of the QB litter. The Big Three of the class — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields — are likely to be off the board by then, leaving the second-tier likes of Trey Lance and Mac Jones as available options.
And while they’re younger, cheaper, and potentially healthier than Prescott, they’re not Prescott. They’re not established, top-10 NFL quarterbacks. Not yet. If ever. To Helman’s point, the Cowboys hit a home run with Dak, but the odds of a second dinger, even on Day 1, are increasingly rare. Why attempt it? Why take that chance when the game’s already won?
Those questions ultimately are immaterial, though. Fellow in-house team writer Rob Phillips countered with a dose of reality: Prescott is unlikely to be unseated nor depart the only professional home he’s known. Time is the great equalizer for both parties, an equalizer that remains likely to save this marriage.
“If the Cowboys truly believe they can still get a long-term deal done, even if it’s not by the draft, then I doubt they’ll feel major pressure to draft a quarterback this year, especially with all their other roster needs. The fact still remains that even if he’s franchise-tagged again, both sides have until mid-July to work something out,” Phillips wrote. “I do think pre-free-agency is the best artificial deadline so they can have a perfect understanding of their cap flexibility. But if Dak gets the tag again by March 9 as a placeholder, they’ll have to budget for roughly $38 million anyway. It’s a huge number, and at this point we don’t know what the cap level is going to be, but that’s simply where we are. I don’t know for sure that it’ll get done this time around, but July 15 is still the big deadline.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL