This is probably the biggest take I’ve had in a while. Many might think I’m crazy for this one…but am I?
Matt Stafford and the Lions are in mutual agreement that his time in Detroit is over. There have been a few teams interested in Stafford. If I were the Dallas Cowboys, I’d take a look also.
Matt Stafford’s average salary per season is $27 million against the cap. He is 32 years old, and his current contract is good until 2023. This would give Dallas two seasons with Stafford before another pay day. The next one shouldn’t be record shattering. They would be paying a quarterback in his 16th season in the NFL, it’s not like he will have some mega-deal, he’s not Tom Brady. They could keep Stafford for a few more years as well.
Prescott reportedly back in May of 2020 turned down an offer that was around $35 million per year, a deal that was allegedly $175 million over the span of 5 years (according to Chris Simms from NBC Sports), but who knows how reliable Simms actually was in that report. I can see Prescott wanting around $37 million to $41 million a year. Prescott’s cap hit this last season with the tag was $31,409,000. That is huge. He is also coming off a big injury to his ankle, but he should recover just fine.
It’s not just Prescott and the cap hit for the Cowboys either. They have players like Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and DeMarcus Lawrence making top dollar. Amari Cooper’s cap hit is $22 million. Zeke Elliot’s is $13.7 million. DeMarcus Lawrence is $25 million. That would be a total of $60 million against the cap this year alone for those three players, all paid in the top 5 in their positions. If Prescott did sign for say $38 million per year, that would make their cap hit for all four players $98 million, almost $100 million. With Stafford, it would be about $87 million, which is still high, but it saves them $11 million, enough to sign a few more players (all numbers from Sportrac).
Many may think that Stafford would not bring any value to the Cowboys, or that Prescott would be much more efficient. Stafford this year still managed to throw for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, with a passer rating of 96.3. Stafford was able to do this without his best receiver in Kenny Golladay (appeared in only 5 games). His leading receiver was Marvin Jones with 978 yards and 9 touchdowns. Tight end TJ Hockenson had his best year with 723 yards and 6 touchdowns. Imagine if Stafford had weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb?
Prescott was having what could have been a career year for him before he went down with an injury. In 2019 Prescott had his best year, throwing 30 touchdowns, 4,902 yards and 11 interceptions. Prescott did this with two receivers that eclipsed 1,000 yards (Cooper and Gallup) and Cobb with 828.
Cooper is a true number one wide receiver, and Gallup is a very good number 2. Add Lamb this year as a solid slot receiver and that team is set with weapons. They also have a good offensive line (when healthy) and a top 5 running back in the NFL with Elliot. If Andy Dalton played a little bit better in a few games, the Cowboys could have made the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, Dallas could certainly use Prescott, and they could do big things with him, but when you factor in the price with the cap hit the team is already facing, how far can they go before they can’t afford to pay anymore assets?
The big knock to Stafford is he has just one playoff game. Prescott has 3. Take into consideration the teams these men have been on. Prescott has been on much better teams than Stafford. I think Stafford in Dallas would be a huge change for him, and for the better. Stafford is a veteran with good leadership qualities, toughness, and experience. Look at the days when he had Calvin Johnson…I could see him playing similar to that with Cooper, Lamb and Gallup.
Ultimately if I were Dallas, this would be a big consideration. Stafford could save them some cap space and still provide some quality at the quarterback position. I’ll leave you with another hot take…if Dallas does land Stafford, I can see them winning the division in 2021.
Photo Credit: NBC News
About Dylan Davis
Dylan Davis is a graduate of the State University of New York at Canton, where he obtained a B.A.A in Sport Management. He is a former athlete of football and baseball and sports fan for much of his life. Dylan creates content for 366 Sports and New York Giants 366, and is also a host on his own show, “The J&D Sports Show”.