Let’s pretend Dak Prescott leaves the Cowboys…what happens?

Dallas Cowboys, NFL Free Agency

Dak Prescott completed all four years of his rookie deal with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s likely to be tagged or ink a new deal, but what happens if he leaves?

After four years of quality quarterback play, Dak Prescott is scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

The Dallas Cowboys used a fourth-round pick on the former Mississippi State signal-caller in the 2016 NFL Draft. Initially a third-stringer in Dallas, he ascended to the top of the depth chart once Tony Romo and Kellen Moore succumbed to injury in the preseason.

Four years later, Romo is predicting plays in the CBS booth next to Jim Nantz and Moore is Prescott’s offensive coordinator in Dallas. Frankly, Prescott may love quarterbacking America’s Team, but what if he’s cashed his last NFL paycheck from Jerry Jones?

If Dallas stands pat at No. 17 in the draft, it could end up reaching a bit on Jacob Eason of the Washington Huskies or Jordan Love of the Utah State Aggies. Both project as late first-round picks. Dallas may even move into the top-half of the second round to take Jake Fromm of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Dallas has the trade pieces and maybe a growing need to replace Prescott with either a first or second-round pick if the Cowboys feel so inclined. But this team may be in win-now mode. Jones is approaching 80 years old and was in his 50s the last time the Cowboys won a Super Bowl.

With Drew Brees and Cam Newton likely returning to their respective NFC South teams, the quarterback market isn’t as robust as it was even a few weeks ago. Quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston might be available on the younger side of the age spectrum. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are also in the market for new contracts.

Any of the them could have success in Dallas. Brady might make the Cowboys Super Bowl-caliber, but the other five could have the Cowboys at least playoff viable. But is that an upgrade over Prescott? No. What about potential trade partners? Could the Cowboys strike up a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals for Andy Dalton? What about Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders?

As for Carr and the Raiders’ situation, it’s unclear. The Raiders need a better quarterback to compete in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs and one who isn’t petrified to play at Arrowhead Stadium.

We’ve seen Carr play an MVP level before behind a great offensive line. The Cowboys have one of those. Playing in a dome half the time will mask his so-so arm talent. His style of play is like that of Prescott’s. In fact, his NFL prototype is that of Prescott’s Cowboys predecessor in Romo. Carr has already been paid, so Dallas won’t have to worry about paying a premium for him.

Overall, there are over a dozen potential quarterback options for the Cowboys to consider if they were to move off Prescott. Few will make them undeniably better in the short-term, but perhaps there are several that could be better fits long-term. However, all going into the quarterback market does is reveal rampant uncertainty. At least Dallas knows what it has in Prescott.

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