In a parallel universe, the Dallas Cowboys allow quarterback Dak Prescott to walk in March and acquire his replacement, Deshaun Watson, in a megablockbuster trade deal orchestrated by the Houston Texans.
In this universe — reality — the Cowboys are tied for the ninth-highest odds (+2000) of rostering Watson in 2021, according to the latest forecast via SportsBetting.com.
The New York Jets (+200) have been installed as the tentative favorite, with the Miami Dolphins (+300), Chicago Bears (+400) and Denver Broncos (+500) among the frontrunners.
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Bursting the Bubble
This proposed trade, unprecedented, is virtually impossible for the Cowboys to pull off. They would not only need to surrender a package of first-round picks (plural) and players, Watson has a $156 million contract, which he signed in September, that must be absorbed.
Instead of giving up franchise-altering capital to pay Watson $39 million per year, why not just sign Dak Prescott for the same amount and … be done? No capital required.
Such is the fly in the ointment in the case for the Cowboys to land Watson, a now-disgruntled three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in passing yards this year. But Prescott, a two-time Pro Bowler, is adept in his own right and was on pace to shatter the league’s season-single passing record prior to his devastating Week 5 ankle injury.
The smart bet remains Prescott staying with the Cowboys, through either a long-term contract or another franchise tag — a cost of $37.7 million for 2021. The hope is the former. The failsafe is the latter.
The odds are a pipedream.
“As I’ve said all along, our complete commitment is to Dak Prescott,” team COO Stephen Jones said last month on 105.3 The Fan. “And we look forward to getting his deal finished. He’s the leader of the team and we certainly miss him,” Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan.
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Dak Taking Massive Steps Toward Return
Prescott is “coming along great” in his recovery from season-ending ankle surgery — so great, that he could be “better than ever” in 2021. Such is the latest on Dallas’ cornerstone QB, provided Sunday in a sourced report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“He’s walking right now — which is a big step — working the anti-gravity treadmill and the HydroWorx pool, which takes pressure off his ankle but allows him to get in shape,” Rapoport said. “He’s making great progress. And based on the work he’s put in, what [the Cowboys] think, he’s going to come back better than ever.”
Prescott suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation on Oct. 11. He underwent surgery the same day and was given an estimated rehab timeline of 4-6 months. Subsequent reports and dispatches from team officials claimed Prescott had suffered no post-surgical setbacks and is ahead of schedule for his return.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL