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Contract Conundrum in the NFL: Dak Prescott

Matt Plumb discusses Dak Prescott's current contract situation and options for fantasy owners.

Dak Prescott has been an extremely reliable fantasy quarterback for owners. For the past five seasons (2019-2023), he has appeared in 65 of 83 games. He missed 11 of the 18 games in 2020 due to a broken ankle. Over those five seasons, he has scored an average of 20.53 fantasy points per game. This is an extremely productive amount. Furthermore, in three of those seasons, he ranked QB2, QB3, and QB7 in the three seasons he was completely healthy.

Contract and Cap Hit Effects

(Please note: provided all salary information.)

On March 8, 2021, he signed a four-year contract for $160 million with $126 million in guarantees. He is entering the final year of this deal. His cap hit is $55,132,647 for the 2024 season. Deshaun Watson has the highest cap hit in the NFL, followed by Prescott. The intriguing part is that Jerry Jones and Prescott won’t budge in extension talks. Both sides announced that no contract extension or restructuring will be completed before the 2024 season.

It’s significant because the Cowboys have a player with a massive cap hit that could be restructured and save $22,232,000 in cap space. An extension would save the same amount in cap space. The Cowboys are struggling with cap space, impacting the rest of their team. They had to let OT Tyron Smith sign with the New York Jets and designated Michael Gallup as a post-June 1 cut.

They have not had any significant free agent signings and have, in fact, only signed one player (Eric Kendricks), who was on a different team in 2023 as of April 1, 2024. No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Joke. Additionally, if Dak walks after this season, the Cowboys will have a $40,137,647 dead cap hit for his contract in 2025. If resigned, the new contract erases the dead cap hit.

(Photo Courtesy of Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

There’s plenty of reason to want to keep Prescott and resign him. First, the Cowboys need to build and revamp the team around him with talent. Additionally, he is a highly productive quarterback and prolific passer, and those types of talents are difficult to replace. Significantly, the Dallas Cowboys are allowing him to play out the remaining year of his contract. It is also important for fantasy owners to account for this going forward.

Fantasy Options

There are some things for fantasy owners to monitor with this situation and some moves that could be made.

1. Acquire Trey Lance

Remember that guy? The player that the San Francisco 49ers traded THREE first-round picks to move up and select in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys during last offseason cuts for a 2024 fourth-round pick. This contract stalemate with Prescott has caused me to look back at this deal and think that maybe Jones knew then that there might be an issue in retaining Prescott.

Lance is in the final year of his rookie deal and is a very cheap alternative to Prescott. Could there be a situation where Lance is the starting quarterback in 2025 for the Cowboys? It’s highly unlikely, but hey, Sam Darnold made $4 million as a backup last year and $10 million this year as the current starter for the Minnesota Vikings.

In the DynastyGM Trade Browser, there haven’t been any trades involving Lance in the new year. However, at the end of last year, these were four Superflex trades involving Lance:

Lance’s first and third trades are slam dunks, especially in Superflex, and in the other two trades, he is just a small throw-in piece to get the deal done. He is EXTREMELY cheap and could reward savvy owners.

2. Trade Prescott for Picks

His current value in Superflex is almost equal to the 2024 1.01 and 1.06 picks. Even though he is 30 years old and much quarterback youth has been injected recently, Prescott is still a very valuable asset. If I can get draft picks somewhere in that vicinity, I am doing all that day with the talent in this draft class in Superflex leagues.

3. Tier Down from Prescott

I would consider doing a tier-down trade for four quarterbacks with less value in the DynastyGM tool. The quarterbacks are Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, and Jared Goff. Murray is almost a one-for-one trade, which I would make if I were not a top-tier contending team for the youth and rushing upside. Goff is the most expensive older quarterback I would trade for IF I could get a first-round pick on top of him.

Cousins and Aaron Rodgers are significantly cheaper. I would make that deal if I could get a first-round pick, PLUS, in addition to either Rodgers or Cousins. Both quarterbacks have a similar upside to Prescott going into the 2024 season.

4. Trade Up for Prescott

This might be an excellent opportunity to take advantage of any depressed markets for him. Prescott presents a nice buy-low situation for contending teams in Superflex leagues. The most recent trade is essentially a 2024 first for Prescott. We now know that Mac Jones is a backup in Jacksonville. This is a slam dunk, accept for me on the Prescott side. The other two deals represent excellent win-now value for the QB.

With Prescott’s pending contract expiration, there are a lot of different options for fantasy owners. Now is the time to make your move and enhance your fantasy football squad.

Make sure you subscribe to the #NerdHerd, where you get exclusive content, dynasty/rookie/devy rankings, a buy/sell tool, and a bonus podcast. Dynasty Nerds also recently launched the #DynastyGM tool, a complete game-changer in the fantasy industry. Click here for a free trial. We truly are your one-stop shop for all your fantasy football needs!

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