SANTA CLARA, Calif. - If on Saturday night you tuned in to the Dallas Cowboys’ 17-9 preseason-opening loss at the Niners hoping some magical clarity would appear to justify Dak Prescott as a $30-Million QB,’ you are a far greater fool for doing than he is for having declined to sign a contract offer at that level.
I hope the respected Mr. Lombardi surely isn’t trying to “break a story” here; we reported in this space a week ago that Dallas had issued to Prescott a contract extension proposal that would make him a top five paid QB.
Cowboys officials slipped us that info surely based on the idea that we would assume they mean “average per year.” The fifth-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL right now is Atlanta’s Matt Ryan at $30 mil a year.
And voila! We have our likely number for Dak!
Mr. Lombardi meanwhile asserts that Dak Is “nuts” for not immediately accepting the $30 mil APY deal. But I politely disagree on three counts:
1) We have no idea about The structure of the rest of the proposal. What if the years are wrong? What if the guarantees are low?
2) Top-five salary” and “top-five QB” don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with each other. If “ranking” and “wages” were inextricably tied in that way, Aaron Rodgers should march into the Packers’ front office every couple of weeks, every time a lesser player gets a raise.
3) The reason that Prescott hasn’t accepted this offer (and in fact I think maybe hasn’t even responded to it) is because ... he knows the next offer will be higher.
And I - for a fact - know it, too.
I guarantee you as soon as CAA answers Stephen Jones’s phone call with a counter-proposal, the Joneses will inch up their offer.
Trust me. Guaranteed. Again, if you are a critic searching to add evidential muscle to your “Dak’s Dollars” opinion, training camp and even preseason games are probably not the place for you.
“The media is evaluating practices,” QB coach Jon Kitna said the other day, “(but) you have no idea the things that we’re working on out there.”
He’s got a fine point. To some degree that applies to a preseason NFL game, too.
Dak played here on the opening drive only, and engineered a nine-play drive that featured some tempo, his 4-of-4 passing, and rookie Tony Pollard starting in Ezekiel Elliott’s spot. Dallas settled for a field goal, but along the way there was "Dakcuracy,'' including on a deep throw to Michael Gallup that earned the Cowboys an interference call.
Dak even caught his own pass on a deflected throw, and lived to joke about it.
“I just wanted to show everybody I can catch,” he said with a laugh. “Show off the hands and just get down.”
And then came another level or pressing concern at QB in Dallas: Do they employ a capable No. 2?
Cooper Rush subbed for Dak on the second possession and before halftime, he too orchestrated the Cowboys down the field with a series of "let-'er-rip'' over-the-middle throws. The first drive ended with another Brett Maher field goal (yay!) the second with a Maher miss (oh-oh).
And then a crisp possession to close the half, Rush showing some cool, some mobility and some am strength to push Dallas to a 12-play, 59-yard drive in 1:41, culminated by a Maher make (yay!).
“We were obviously disappointed in the third kick (missed field goal),'' coach Jason Garrett said. "The other ones seemed to be pretty good. So we’ll keep evaluating him, we’ll keep giving him shots. But he’s been a good kicker for us.”
In the end, the undrafted young vet Rush finished 16-of-26 for 142 yards. He got some help from receiver Cedrick Wilson, could've used some help from rookie Jon'Vea Johnson, and set up tight end Blake Jarwin to be a weapon-who-almost-was.
Said Rush: “It’s a lot of fun. ... we moved the ball and got a lot of chunk plays. You just wish you could’ve punched it into the end zone.”
Then came third-stringer Mike White, and his inglorious start: A sack-strip-fumble (not all of his fault, then negated by a flag) on his very first snap. Ah, and that start featured a sequel when with 7 minutes left and the game still within reach, White was pressured and fumbled again, this time with no ref rescue.
Dallas might keep three QBs. Or Rush might beat out White and the Cowboys end up with just two. But there is one they are keeping for sure, and while Dak Prescott’s value can be a subject of national debate, the facts we know about his $30-mil mindset are as obvious as they are inarguable.