Cowboys Could Trade for $180 Million Franchise QB to Replace Dak: Analyst

Dak Prescott

Getty The Dallas Cowboys need to have alternative options in case Dak Prescott does not sign a new deal.

The price continues to get higher for Dak Prescott’s next contract, creating a potential decision for the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott is heading into the final season of a four-year, $160 million contract.

Jared Goff agreed to a new four-year deal worth up to $212 million on May 13, 2024 in order to remain with the Detroit Lions, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The price is only rising for veteran quarterback contract extensions.

Despite all the posturing, chances are the Cowboys will eventually sign Prescott to a new deal. Yet, Dallas would be wise to have alternative options just in case a new contract is not agreed upon.

USA Today’s K.D. Drummond put together a potential list for Prescott replacement options heading into 2025. One team that has plenty of quarterbacks is the Atlanta Falcons. Four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Kirk Cousins is a name to watch next offseason if the Cowboys are suddenly in the market for a new quarterback.

“There’s still time to make a deal, but it would be foolish to think the front office is not building contingency plans if he should walk in free agency following the season,” Drummond wrote in a May 8, 2024 story titled, “8 potential Prescott replacements and the Penix perpendicularity.”

“… Atlanta spent the No. 8 pick on Washington QB Michael Penix, Jr., despite guaranteeing Kirk Cousins $100 million as the biggest free-agency splash in the league. While they’ll co-exist in 2024, Cousins all of a sudden is a trade candidate next year, before he’s even taken a snap in the Peach State. That adds the veteran to a lengthening list of quarterbacks who could end up wearing the star next season.”

Cowboys Rumors: Falcons QB Kirk Cousins’ $180 Million Contract Could Become a 2-Year Deal After a 2025 Trade

Drummond categorized each quarterback possibility as either a bridge or franchise option. Cousins has the franchise category given the veteran can be more than a one-year rental.

Even if an unlikely breakup happens, all signs point to the Cowboys and Prescott playing out the 2024 season together. The challenge is Prescott has a no-trade clause, so a mid-season deal would only happen if the star signed off on a move.

To complicate matters even more, Prescott also has a no-franchise tag clause. This means Prescott can become a free agent next offseason, and Dallas is in danger of losing the quarterback for nothing.

The Falcons may prefer to get Michael Penix Jr. onto the field sooner rather than later. Heading into the 2025 season, Cousins will have three seasons remaining on a four-year, $180 million contract.

Cousins is slated to have a $40 million cap hit in 2025. As an added bonus, Cousins’ deal has a potential out in 2027 which would essentially mean the Cowboys would be acquiring the former Pro Bowler on a two-year deal.

Cowboys Rumors: Kirk Cousins Has Even Less Playoff Success Than Dak Prescott

Now, if the Cowboys are frustrated with Prescott’s lack of postseason success, Cousins may not be the ideal replacement. The quarterback has just one career postseason win and an 1-4 overall record in the playoffs.

Yet, Cousins could be joining a Cowboys roster that has the potential to be stronger than most of the teams the quarterback has been on during his career. Cousins threw for 2,331 yards, 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions while completing 69.5% of his passes in eight appearances in 2023 prior to sustaining a season-ending ACL injury. The veteran’s appeal could be that Atlanta may be willing to deal Cousins for a reasonable return via trade.

“Cousins’ contract is huge, they guaranteed $100 million, but that doesn’t make him untradable,” Drummond added. “In fact, the team could carve out around $2.5 million in space in 2025 were they to deal him next offseason, and then be free of all future obligations.

“He’d probably be relatively cheap, compensation wise, and the Cowboys wouldn’t be committing to anything beyond the 2025 season, as that’s the only remaining guaranteed base salary, and it’s a pretty affordable $27.5 million with no roster bonus.”

The Cowboys will have other quarterback options if things get messy with Prescott. Like Cousins, all of these different paths come with their own flaws, just as Prescott possesses.