How will Dak Prescott’s injury impact his future with the Dallas Cowboys?
It’s a fair question to ask in wake of the quarterback suffering a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation Sunday, and it’s a question Jeremy Fowler explored in a piece published Tuesday on ESPN.com.
Prescott signed a franchise tag worth $31.4 million for the 2020 season after reportedly turning down a long-term contract extension offer, and the 27-year-old can test free agency this offseason if he doesn’t reach a new deal or sign a $37.7 million franchise tag for 2021.
While it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys just letting Prescott walk, he almost certainly would be the top quarterback available on an open market that figures to include fellow signal-callers Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mitchell Trubisky.
So, where could Prescott, theoretically, wind up if he leaves Dallas?
According to Fowler, an NFC executive floated two possible landing spots: the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.
The Colts currently are quarterbacked by Rivers, who is operating on a one-year, $25 million contract and has shown serious signs of decline at age 38. Both he and backup Jacoby Brissett will be off the books in 2021, as Fowler notes, freeing up almost $50 million in salary cap space.
The Bears recently handed their offensive keys to Nick Foles after benching Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. Chicago already declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option, while Foles carries a reasonable cap hit of $6.7 million for 2021.
Basically, both destinations would make sense, particularly when you consider their other strengths and the reality that QB play could be all that separates either from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Of course, it’ll still require a huge chunk of change to sign Prescott, who’s established himself as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. And that’s if he reaches free agency, as there’s hardly been any indication the Cowboys plan to move on from their franchise cornerstone.
In fact, Dallas’ commitment to Prescott might be stronger than ever, in which case we just wasted everyone’s time. Whoops.