The Seattle Seahawks could have a slim chance of finding their next QB1 via trade after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones left the door open for a possible quarterback competition in Big D. Cooper Rush is a perfect 2-0 in his starts dating back to last season, and Jones turned heads by admitting that he would be open to Rush playing well enough to force head coach Mike McCarthy into making a difficult decision when Dak Prescott returns. Jones referenced Prescott’s ability to keep the starting job when Tony Romo returned healthy as a potential pathway for Rush to do something similar.
“Wouldn’t it be something if you had a dilemma as to which way you go?” Jones told reporters on September 22. “You do that if he gets 10 wins. Same thing that happened with Prescott [versus Romo], I think like that.”
If this unlikely scenario played itself out, it would obviously mean the end of the Prescott era in Dallas. The Cowboys would not be keeping Prescott’s $160 million contract which comes with a $31 million salary in 2023 for the veteran to be a backup. Jones was asked in a follow-up question if he would welcome a quarterback competition.
“Of course I would, of course,” Jones added. “That means we won. If he comes in here and plays as well as Prescott played [his rookie season], [if] Rush played that well over these next games ahead, I’d walk to New York to get that.”
What Would the Seahawks Have to Give the Cowboys in a Blockbuster Prescott Trade?
The Seahawks would likely be one of the first teams in line if Prescott somehow becomes available via trade. Given quarterback’s salaries are now approaching $50 million annually, the remainder of Prescott’s deal becomes a bit of a bargain. The Cowboys quarterback still has two additional years remaining on his deal after this season with a reasonable salary of $31 million in 2023 and $29 million in 2024.
It becomes challenging to assess what Prescott’s trade value would be given his recent injury history combined with the limited playoff success. The blockbuster Russell Wilson trade would likely serve as a baseline for a Prescott deal.
At 29 years old, Prescott is considerably younger than Wilson (33), but the Broncos quarterback has been more durable than the Cowboys signal-caller who missed significant time in two of the last three seasons.
The Seahawks received two first-round picks, two second-round selections and three players (Noah Fant, Drew Lock and Shelby Harris) who turned into two starters for Seattle. Dallas would likely set a similar asking price if they were to begin exploring potential trades for their franchise quarterback.
The Cowboys would have their own quarterback dilemma as Rush is a free agent this coming offseason, and Dallas would have to give the signal-caller a significant raise in order to re-sign him. A more expensive Rush deal still projects to be considerably less than Prescott’s remaining contract, and would likely be one of the main reasons Dallas would consider making such a surprising change.
The Chances of the Cowboys Trading Prescott Are Slim
Dallas could also use the Browns-Texans trade for Deshaun Watson as another frame of reference, but Prescott would have a different context given the now Browns quarterback’s looming suspension at the time of the deal. Houston received three first-round picks, a 2023 third-round selection and two fourth rounders as part of the blockbuster trade.
Heading into the season, The Athletic’s Mike Sando released his annual quarterback rankings which are based on votes from NFL coaches and executives.
Prescott ranked as the No. 11 overall quarterback and was put in the tier-two grouping. Wilson (No. 8) and Watson (No. 9) were slotted just above Prescott in the rankings. The Cowboys signal-caller threw for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while completing 68.8% of his passes during 16 appearances in 2021.
Rush may be performing above his expectations in his two NFL starts, but the quarterback has a lot more to prove before a team can strongly consider him a long-term solution as a QB1. Chances are Prescott is going to slide back into his role as the Cowboys franchise quarterback once he is cleared to play. Yet, as Jones pointed out, the Cowboys are saying there is a chance, and the Seahawks would likely be one of the most interested suitors if the team moves on from Prescott.