What we do know is that contract talks between the two sides have been contentious over the past 18 months. Prescott, 27, was forced to play under the tag last season before suffering a devastating ankle injury five games in. How might that impact negotiations this time around?
With so many unknowns, there’s also a chance that the cash-strapped Cowboys simply opt to place the franchise tag on Prescott with the sole purpose of trading him for assets. That’s where these five potential Dak Prescott landing spots come into play.
Dak Prescott to the New York Jets
The Jets are obviously not sold on Sam Darnold. General manager Joe Douglas has had time to scout him. A decision has yet to be made after New York brought in Robert Saleh to be its next head coach. If New York firmly believed that Darnold was the team’s long-term solution under center, he wouldn’t be subjected to trade rumors right now.
Selecting No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets would obviously be taking a chance going with Zach Wilson (BYU) or Justin Fields (Ohio State) as their potential quarterback of the future. Why not offer up the second pick and Darnold to Dallas for a proven player in Prescott? This is less than what it would take to acquire Deshaun Watson, enabling New York to further its rebuild.
As for the Cowboys, placing the franchise tag on Dak Prescott and trading him could represent the best of both worlds. In this scenario, Jerry Jones and Co. find a potential quarterback of the future in Darnold. The Cowboys could then shop the second pick for more draft assets and/or proven talent to fill out the remainder of their roster.
Dak Prescott to the Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders reportedly remain committed to Derek Carr with one big exception. Jon Gruden and Co. are willing to listen to offers for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback if it means getting Deshaun Watson in a separate trade. This is a clear indication that Las Vegas views Carr as its quarterback of the present, not the future.
Realistically, Dak Prescott becoming available would change the dynamics in a big way. While he’s not at the level of Watson, we’re still talking about a top-seven quarterback in the NFL who is just now hitting his prime years. Las Vegas would not hesitate offering up Carr and its first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for Prescott.
In turn, the Cowboys get a nice stopgap option with Carr to man the quarterback position on the cheap over the next two years. They also add the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to go with their own first-round selection (10th overall). That could help big time with roster-building.
Dak Prescott to the Chicago Bears
Chicago was in on Carson Wentz before he was dealt from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts. General manager Ryan Pace is also interested in acquiring Deshaun Watson. What does this all mean? Pace and head coach Matt Nagy know they are on the hot seat. They are apparently willing to do whatever is possible to acquire a major upgrade over Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback.
Without much to offer up in terms of a quarterback should the Cowboys pull off a Dak Prescott sign-and-trade, this scenario becomes a bit more convoluted. Dallas is in need of cornerback help. Kyle Fuller is a real option. From there, the Bears would likely have to offer up their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and a future mid-round selection to pry Prescott away from Big D. Stranger things have happened.
Dak Prescott to the Houston Texans
How’s this for a blockbuster NFL trade? Dallas opts to franchise Prescott with the sole intention of flipping him and the 10th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to the Texans for Deshaun Watson. It’s the type of eye-opening move that defined the early years of the Jerry Jones era in Dallas.
Now, I am not 100% sure how a trade of this ilk would work. Watson is better than Prescott. That’s clear. However, the Texans being able to get their own franchise guy and a top-10 pick for a quarterback who doesn’t want to be with the organization could be seen as a win for new general manager Nick Caserio.
In an NFL offseason that has already been filled with some major quarterback movement, it would not surprise me if these two Texas-based teams got together and shocked the gridiron world. The optics would be insane. The landscape in both conferences would change on a dime, too. It’s fun to think about.
Read More: 5 most realistic Deshaun Watson trade offers
Dak Prescott to the New England Patriots
NFL rumors have pointed in the direction of New England calling up teams about pretty much every quarterback seemingly available on the trade block. That includes San Francisco 49ers signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo. The idea is simple. The Patriots want to find a dramatic upgrade from Cam Newton under center. None are available via free agency.
If Prescott is in fact put on the block, there’s absolutely no reason to believe the Patriots won’t give Jerry Jones and Co. a ring. The starting-off point here would be their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore.
As for the Cowboys, they would then likely be forced to find a stopgap veteran option under center while selecting a quarterback with one of their two first-round picks. Is that something the Cowboys’ brass would be willing to do? I am not too sure. But it’s an interesting scenario.