FRISCO, Texas – The reason Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is willing to give Dak Prescott a $160 million contract – more than he paid for the team in 1989 ($140 million) – is the quarterback’s ability.
Prescott has improved year after year since joining the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick in 2016. He has 106 touchdown passes. He ran for another 24 hours. He led the Cowboys to two NFC East titles. In 2019, he was 2 yards away from setting a franchise record for passing yards in a season. Before suffering a terrible injury to his right ankle last season, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 450 yards in three consecutive games.
But there was another reason Jones was willing to commit to $160 million over the next four years, including a $66 million signing bonus, an NFL record.
Jones talked about a conversation he had with the Cowboys’ greatest quarterback of all time, Hall of Famer Roger Staubach. He asked Staubach if the Cowboys should look for the mobile quarterback or the pocket quarterback.
The work never stopped. @dak | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/cZf6mNPVAQ
– Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 11, 2021
Roger said: I have no comment on that, [but] get someone at quarterback who looks at the players. That’s the important thing, Jones said. I’ve been thinking about this for the last five or six years. And it was loud and clear.
The Cowboys experienced Prescott’s intangibles again in the 2016 Senior Bowl, when they were coached against him. You’ve seen him every day since he replaced the injured Tony Romo as a rookie. They saw that he played better than anyone could have imagined, even if he wasn’t perfect.
The internal reaction to the signing was unanimous. Players have shared their excitement on Twitter, and those behind the scenes – from the training room to the video department to the equipment staff – share the same sentiments.
What makes him so special is that despite all his successes on and off the field, he’s still one of the guys, All-Pro right guard Zack Martin told ESPN.com. It’s one thing to be a vocal leader as a quarterback, but it reinforces how he works and prepares throughout the year. He takes the time to get to know his teammates and realizes that no task is too small for anyone. He’s everything you want in a quarterback, a teammate and a friend.
Wednesday’s press conference announcing the deal took place in the afternoon because Prescott, 27, had to go to rehab in the morning. He didn’t want to miss the meeting. He didn’t want his teammates to think he had slipped.
If there is going to be a graduation ceremony, it will be small and intimate, with family and friends. There is still too much work to do to get healthy and improve as a quarterback.
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It’s more a matter of knowing where you’re going. It’s more about what this organization is, what the future is, what I believe in, what this team believes in, all the people that get up every day and work for this organization to win, that’s what it’s all about, Prescott said. I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but I’m training with these guys, these rehab guys, trying to get better because this is a party. I’m here, we come to work, we come to this job to get what we want, and that’s winning.
Following his injury last season, Prescott was in the star’s side most days, although he was limited in his activity and struggled to move. But he wanted to show his teammates and coaches his dedication.
At the end of the day, he’s our partner and Jerry and I definitely have to make some tough decisions about how we divide up the pie, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. And the right guy gets the biggest piece.
Spent dollars can embarrass the Joneses. In 2019, the first two picks of the 2016 draft, quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, signed mega contracts worth $133.4 million and $128 million, respectively. They will be exchanged with their home teams when the new league year begins on the 17th. The month of March is beginning.
The Cowboys don’t know how this will play out, but their faith in Prescott is backed by some great players in franchise history, including Staubach, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and others.
That’s how I know we did a good job, Stephen Jones said. Look at his teammates. Look at guys like Michael Irvin who spent time with him, former great players who had that factor. They all love and respect Duck. He just has an insatiable hunger to be great, to compete, to lead. No matter how much you want to put it in the box, it has it. That is why Jerry and I are convinced that we made the right choice. It only gets better from here.
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