Allowing that Prescott is a “great leader,” Johnson does not believe the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback is singularly talented enough to lead the team to a Super Bowl title, ultimately failing to justify his record-setting $160 million megadeal.
“I think he’s a great leader for the team. I think the team really rallies around him. So he is a positive influence there,” Johnson said Tuesday on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “Before the injury, he could make plays with his legs. He could run the football and he fit into their system.
“He has had problems at times being accurate. But with that receiving corps, he gets people open. I like Dak. I think he can win you a championship if he has great players around him. I don’t think Dak can carry a football team if he doesn’t have great players around him.”
The now-controversial remarks represent something of an about-face for Johnson, who pressured the Cowboys in January to lock down Dak — “an outstanding quarterback” — with a multi-year contract.
“They need to get him signed! They should have given in to the four-year deal last year. Would have saved them some money. They wanted five years. But they’ve got to get him signed,” he said. “And not only is he an outstanding quarterback, he’s not Patrick Mahomes, but he is an outstanding quarterback and on top of that he is a great leader. Leader for that football team. So they need to get him signed. And the other thing is, until you find somebody better, you don’t ever give up a quarterback.”
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Prescott Envisions ‘Big Parade’
The weightiest knock on Prescott has always been his playoff success, or lack thereof. That criticism isn’t limited to those within the club’s orbit. Various NFL executives, speaking anonymously through the media, had attempted to dissuade Dallas from breaking the bank precisely because he’s just 1-2 all-time in the postseason.
“[League personnel] consider him more in the echelon of the top 6 to 10 quarterbacks,” NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported last week. “They don’t think that he should be getting paid an [average per year] close to Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson. And the argument for that is he’s 1-and-2 in the postseason. Yes, he’s got an incredible [regular-season] win-and-loss record with the Dallas Cowboys, but it really is the lack of postseason success that leads a lot of them to feel this way.”
But Prescott has never been one to govern himself around groupthink. The 2016 fourth-round pick is intimately familiar with adversity — from his brother’s tragic death to his horrific ankle injury, all within the past calendar year — and thrives off its comeuppance.
Suffice it to say, his designs don’t align with Johnson’s viewpoint. And his plans, if realized, are crafted around contradicting Johnson’s argument, the argument of so many Dak detractors.
“That’s my plan, to get a parade in Dallas,” Prescott said Wednesday. “As a competitor, you watch people celebrate, you watch people do what you want to do, and there’s not too many more things that light a fire under you than somebody having what you want.
“You throw on there that I was holding my leg and didn’t have a chance to be out there while guys were doing what was taken away from me.
“I’m just excited to get out there and show you what this team is going to do. The next big press conference we have is hopefully in another year after that big parade. So there you go.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL