Who Does Jerry Jones Want at The QB Position?
By: Mike Obuermuller
One year later and it’s right back to square one for Dallas Cowboys fans. Will Dak Prescott get his long-term extension? And if he’s tagged, will the quarterback decide to hold out?
The only difference this offseason is that Prescott is coming off a major ankle injury. This type of injury shouldn’t necessarily put a damper on Dak’s future outlook, but it does merit some extra deliberation on his overall value. The two sides couldn’t come to an agreement after a career-season for Prescott in 2019, so why should we expect them to come to one now after such an incomplete 2020 campaign?
The most likely outcome is that Dak is tagged again, and he tries his luck at another “prove it” season. The least likely outcome is probably that he ends up starting for another franchise (tag-and-trade), but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially in 2021 when franchise quarterbacks have already been swapped (Matt Stafford-Jared Goff deal). Either way, Jerry Jones could use a quality backup signal-caller, with Andy Dalton likely to seek out a starting opportunity elsewhere.
Dallas is currently 13th in cap space, with 10 draft picks at their disposal in April. Out of the available quarterbacks, here are the three that the Cowboys should target this offseason.
3. Jacoby Brissett (IND)
Jacoby Brissett was a starter with the Indianapolis Colts in 2019, and despite being replaced in 2020, he did lead Indy to a 7-9 season. As far as starters go, Brissett isn’t much better than Dalton, but he has more upside than the majority of the NFL backups. He has also proven that he has the ability to win football games with the Colts and New England Patriots, something most career backups have yet to do with consistency.
During his career, Brissett has thrown 31 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions, a solid ratio. The issue is his completion percentage, which has hovered around 60 percent throughout his tenure in the league. With Jacob Eason on the roster already, the Colts would no longer require Brissett as a backup to whomever their 2021 starter is. Don’t mind the 15 million that Indy paid him in 2020, it was a miscalculated raise that the franchise gave Jacoby after Andrew Luck retired. He is due for a much cheaper rate this time around.
2. Kyle Trask (University of Florida)
As mentioned above, the Cowboys have 10 picks to work with in April. After one in both the first and the second, they have two in the third and two in the fourth.
I don’t expect Dallas to utilize a first or second on the quarterback position, when they need more help on both defense and offensive line, but Kyle Trask could slip to the third or fourth anyway (or they could use one of the extra picks to trade up).
The former Florida Gator was a Heisman finalist who threw for over four thousand yards in 2020, with 43 touchdowns passing and only eight interceptions. He did all that in 12 games, capitalizing on a 68.9 completion percentage. In terms of the physical attributes, Trask has NFL size at 6’5″ 240 pounds, including a strong arm capable of making all necessary passses. His downside is his mobility as a pocket passer in a changing league, but as an understudy to Prescott, Dallas could do far worse. A prospect like Trask could serve as insurance in the scenario that this extension situation gets ugly — fast.
The tag-and-trade. This could occur if the two sides never reach an agreement, and Prescott decides to hold out. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers would all become favorites in any trade scenario (among others). In this option, Dallas would likely swap quarterbacks with whichever team they trade Dak to.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA)
If Jerry and Mike McCarthy want to go with the same plan as last season (high-priced veteran backup), there is no better option right now than Ryan Fitzpatrick. The larger question is whether or not Fitz will get any starting offers at age 39. The gunslinger clearly wants to play, not hold a clipboard, but which franchise will actually give him the best path to do so? The Miami Dolphins — no, it’s Tua Tagovailoa’s (or Deshaun Watson’s) show now. The Houston Texans — possibly, if Watson decides to sit for a year. The New England Patriots or Denver Broncos — younger options seem more plausible. The Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears — most expect these franchises to trade for a quarterback.
The sad truth is that despite how well he played last season (4-3 record, 68.5 completion percentage, 95.6 QB rating), it’s hard to see Fitz getting a starting role at this point in his career. Those days are probably over, which makes Dallas a perfect landing spot. There is a legitimate chance that Prescott holds out, and who better to run this offense in his absence than Fitzpatrick, a man who’s played this role countless times in the past.