AS an Eagles fan, I avoid writing about rival teams or players unless it’s truly newsworthy. Otherwise, I ignore them and focus on MY team: The Philadelphia Eagles. That being said, I have dirt to dish. So pull up a chair and let’s talk some shit.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott refuses to reveal whether or not he’s been vaccinated for Covid-19. When asked about it, he incorrectly invoked HIPAA, and then dived into a stream of meaningless double-talk. This basically says that he hasn’t gotten vaccinated. Whether he’s leaning that way or is staunchly opposed, remains to be seen.
Frankly, it’s not important one way or the other. I’d be telling you a lie to say that I cared at all.
I’m not saying that I wish Covid on the man. I don’t. What I’m here to talk about, is how truly Karmic it would be, if in his situation, he contracted Covid-19. For no damned reason at all.
He just signed one of the most lucrative contracts in NFL history, and the vaccine is totally FREE. Doesn’t cost a single red cent. Even if it wasn’t available in his neighborhood, the Cowboys medical staff would happily drive it to his home to vaccinate him. I’m sure they’d even wade through his pool to do it, as he lay on an inflatable chair.
He has NO BUSINESS getting this disease. NONE.
So if he gets it by himself and has to quarantine, his decision could cost his team one or two games. If he’s part of an outbreak, then his team may need to automatically hand over a win (or two, or three) to whomever they were scheduled to play.
Prescott could avoid all of this now, by being vaccinated. Instead, the plan is to keep QB Ben “Bring It On” DiNucci,
or preseason hall of fame QB Cooper Rush, loose and ready to go. This is because Prescott’s new deal made signing a good back-up, too expensive. (And Chicago lied to QB Andy Dalton.)
While Covid has a high survival rate, often victims are left with long-term symptoms like difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, fatigue, symptoms that worsen after physical activities, difficulty thinking or concentrating (brain fog), and lots of other crap. These people are often called Covid Long Haulers, or said to have Long Covid, or Post-acute Covid., by the CDC
Significantly more victims suffer these long-term effects, than die from the disease, and that’s what poses the bigger danger for Prescott. An NFL athlete can’t play while dragging around an oxygen tank. A QB can’t be at his best with brain fog. If walking up 10 stairs can worsen symptoms for the average person, imagine what an NFL game would do to Prescott.
If Prescott contracts Covid, even when he gets back, he may never be the same player, ever again. It could derail his career, like Guillain-Barre Syndrome did with retired C Travis Frederick. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, would be stuck with a lemon that he owes 126M$. It would be years before the Cowboys could be competitive in the free agent market.
As bad as QB Carson Wentz’s situation looks for the Eagles in 2021, Prescott not being vaccinated could make the Cowboys look a lot worse for a third of a decade. Given that Jones is no spring chicken at 78, there’s a chance that he may not even live to see the Cowboys get from under (as Jones put it), overpaying Prescott.
Again, I’m not saying that I wish Covid on him. I don’t. I’m saying, given the life choices that his fellow players make, not knowing where they’ve been, or who with… To risk that? So is this how a Franchise QB is supposed to behave? As the saying goes, play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
HOWIE is likely going to be fired, if QB Jalen Hurts doesn’t play like a potential star in 2021. Despite what some fans thought about QB Carson Wentz, Owner Jeff Lurie knew he had a bonafide Franchise QB, and that those are difficult to find. Still, General ManagerHowie Roseman, convinced Lurie to trade the bird in his hand, for a QB factory in the bush.
There’s a high-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t miss the real action.
This isn’t about Hurts or Wentz. It never was. It’s about the “QB factory” that Howie later regretted mentioning: “Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”
Notice that he didn’t say that he regrets the idea, or the concept. He said that he regrets the comment. He regrets that he slipped and revealed to us, what was really on his mind. He regrets that we know. This was never about one player over another. It’s about a philosophy.
The Hurts pick is about transforming the QB position into just another position.
By default of how long it takes to develop a QB, they are a huge investment. So the ones with the best raw traits, come at a premium at the top of drafts. Few of those pan out, so it naturally skyrockets the price when a proven, young, veteran QB hits the open market. It’s why teams do everything they can, to keep those proven, young, veteran QB’s from hitting the open market. Often overpaying them.
The NFL was able to control other positions by killing off the idea of star players, who are true specialists:
Star RB’s became RB by committee.
The FB, H-Back, and blocking TE positions are practically extinct.
True #1 WR’s became more expendable with the adoption of Spread concepts.
On defense, players without a hard designation are becoming the norm. Whether it’s all of these CB/S, or those 215 – 220 pound LB/S tweeners, or the Edge players… None of that used to be how football worked, even 10 years ago. None of it.
The QB position is harder to redefine and control, but it must be done. And it must happen SOON.
The NFL needs to find a way to quickly develop QB’s who can be productive, not just to control investment costs (like draft capital), and operating costs (like contract terms), but so that the QB position can be platooned. Yes, platooned. Think about Hurts and Wentz. Or Drew Brees and QB Taysom Hill. Think about Tim Tebow now back in the NFL, at 33.
This is an experiment to figure out how best to phase out the “every game” starter. Instead, coming up with something more akin to a baseball starting pitcher. A guy who’s relied on only to start a percentage of the games, instead of all of them. Sure you’ll have an Ace, but he won’t be your Franchise.
If the NFL doesn’t do this, there is no way that they can expand beyond 18 regular season games in a season. Also, do you see the contract that QB Pat Mahomes signed? Or the one that QB Dak Prescott signed, despite owner Jerry Jones admitted to overpaying? Platooned QB’s would have far less leverage at the bargaining table.
That’s where Hurts comes in. Hurts was drafted “sort of” high. Right on the heels of Wentz winning a division, after having put practice squanders on his back. With a franchise QB like Wentz, drafting Hurts made no sense.
Then packages were added to get Hurts on the field early in his career, despite that fact that it ruins a starting QB’s rhythm. Disrupting our Franchise QB’s rhythm made no sense.
Suddenly Wentz became a turnover machine, when taking care of the ball had been the absolute cornerstone of his career. Yet no serious adjustments were ever made to help him. (I even wrote about it back in November of 2020.) That also made no sense.
Except in hindsight, all of it makes perfect sense. It’s an experiment. The Eagles made sure they started with a good, but not franchise quality QB (lower draft capital). The speed of the game is what young players say takes the most time to adapt to. So Hurts was spoon-fed a little time here and a little time there, until the game slowed down for him.
Understand, this is the Eagles version of the experiment, but the entire league has a stake in it. Trust and believe that many eyes follow this. Roseman’s experiment requires Hurts to not just play, but start. So, Wentz was removed from the equation. He had to be. Now Hurts is front and center, and barring a preseason injury, he will start.
That all being said, if Hurts turns out to be the formula, and the QB factory opens in Philadelphia, Jeff Lurie will be the guy who hired the inventor of “The (NFL) Process”. However, if Hurts fails, Lurie will have been talked into spending years of investment money, on a single spin of Roulette. That likely means Roseman would be fired.
High-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t get caught missing the real action.
LAST year Dallas finished 6 – 10 overall, and 2 – 4 in the division. It can be said that they were derailed by a number of injuries, but that was par for the course for everyone in this division. So nope! No one gets a pass because of injuries in 2020. Hey, remember this?:
Dallas was just an expensive and over-hyped bad team. Period.
But that was last year! Here’s what Dallas looks like 8 days prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.
QB:Dak Prescott returns! But just how much of him is going to make it back? About a month the press got hold of some video of his rehab process. Take a look at it. Specifically his right ankle:
He’s all arm and no mechanics from the waist down. There is no dropback. No plant. No drive. No stepping into his passes. Worse than how he looks, is the fact that this is becoming muscle memory for him. For any of you who ever played a sport, you know how hard it is to unlearn a bad habit once you pick it up. As for picking up where he left off, he spent 2020 going 2-3 as a starter, with both wins being worthy of a shrug. His win over ATL was a product of the Falcons refusing to recover an onside kick. The win over the giants was a game he started, but didn’t finish. He could have easily gone 0 – 5. Behind him are Garrett Gilbert who battled PIT in Week 9 to lose by just 5; and Ben “Bring It On” DiNucci who in Week 8 was handed an ‘L’ by PHILADELPHIA. Preseason legend Cooper Rush has also found his way back onto the roster. Prescott will probably be present, but held out of anything on-field during OTA’s and mini-camp. His first real work might not come until training camp starts in July. That said, as of this moment, this moment right here, the Cowboy have as many question marks at this position as every one of their rivals. (-)
RB:Ezekiel Elliott (for the third straight year) saw his rushing attempts, rushing yardage, rushing yards per game, rushing average, AND receiving yardage, drop again. Only twice did he top 100 rushing yards, and he was held to fewer than 50, in six games. He had just 3 rushes of 20 or more yards, and his longest catch was for just 19. His last rush of 40 yards? That was back in 2018. In fact, that was his only one since 2016. This is why Dallas is making the slow pivot to a backfield tandem with Tony Pollard. Pollard was initially considered a change of pace runner. However, in an attempt to add some explosiveness to their run game, Dallas began increasing Pollard’s snap count after the midpoint of 2020. Pollard lacks many of Elliott’s tools (power, alpha mentality, expectation of greatness). However, if he gets a hole, he has the short-area explosiveness to exploit it, although he lacks the long speed to make himself an every down threat. Rico Dowdle and Sewo Olonilua are also on the roster. (+)
WR:Amari Cooperled the team in catches, and receiving yards while posting an impressive 70% catch rate, despite everyone in Texas getting to throw him a pass last year. Rookie Ceedee Lamb posted 935 yards, while coming in second on the team in targets and catches. Michael Gallup saw over 100 targets, but still was third fiddle with just 59 catches. All three caught 5 TD’s apiece. With Lamb’s presence, Gallup now becomes expendable. Though many will try to talk up a three amigos scenario, it’s more likely that Three’s A Crowd
Cedric Wilson and Noah Brown give the Cowboys two receivers who know their system, and thus represent at least schematic depth, if not depth of talent. This is currently the best group in the division. (+)
TE:Blake Jarwin tore his ACL in the first game of the season, and was lost for 2020. So in stepped Dalton Schultz. With 63 grabs and an average of 9.7 yards per grab, Schultz was a functional outlet, and someplace safe to dump the ball off. Which is exactly why he posted a 70% catch rate. He has plenty of value as a back-up, but as a starter… not being a threat as a receiver makes him a liability to the run game. Speaking of not being a receiving threat, I guess Dallas is playing Hollywood Squares because,
they added free agent, Jeremy Sprinkle for the block! Really, blocking is pretty much all he’s good for. This is a viable position, but it doesn’t scare anyone right now. “Right now” being the operative term. (+)
OT:Tyron Smith is back after having had season-ending neck surgery, to fix an issue that has cost him games over the years. While 31 isn’t ancient, paired with that neck surgery, it’s fair to wonder how much of Smith will be returning to the field. Filling in for Smith were Brandon Knight and Cameron Fleming (now in Carolina). On the right, La’el Collins missed nearly all of 2020 with what is vaguely reported as a hip injury. At 6’4” 320, and bending over to get into a three-point stance for a living, a hip injury is no minor thing. Especially when a hip injury is reported like it’s a “hip injury”, which indicates that it may be more than a hip injury. Filling in for Collins was Terence Steele. Knight and Steele played well enough for the Cowboys to run right out and sign free agent Ty Nsekhe, for more money than Knight and Steele are making in 2021. Combined. There is talent here, but it hasn’t been stable or reliable, and that has directly cost this team games and division crowns. Expect a day two draft pick to be spent here. (-)
G:Zach Martin finished 2020 on the bench, but that was after 5 weeks of being on IR with a calf injury. He comes back in 2021 as one of the premier players in the league at his position. On the other side is Connor Williams. While he can’t be mistaken for an All-Pro, he’s a three year starter in that spot, his line-mates know what to expect from him, and so they know how to play off of him. For those who know anything about offensive lines, please explain to your friends how valuable that is. Depth consists of Connor McGovern (not to be confused with Jets C Connor McGovern). McGovern is depth, provided the Cowboys don’t also move him to the pivot. For his part, he notched 8 starts last year on the left when Martin was injured, or was slid out to the edge due to injuries. Former giant Eric Smith enters his second year in a Cowboys jersey. That is, if a draft pick doesn’t beat him out for his roster spot. (+)
C: Second-year man, Tyler Biadasz started 4 games as a rookie, during which Dak Prescott was injured and 3 losses followed. Now he will be the man in the middle, unless something totally wild happens. Behind him is Adam Redmond. In 2018, Redmond saw 96 offensive snaps in 4 games, getting no starts, despite the Cowboys having deep injury concerns on their left side in 2018. Weird. When names like John Gesek, Mark Stepnoski, and Travis Frederick, can roll off of a rival fan’s tongue, you know Biadasz will not be getting the benefit of the doubt. He has lot to live up to, and is not off to a great start in doing so. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL:This team has weapons, but it needs a triggerman who can get the ball where it needs to be. Check that video again. That’s not the look of an NFL QB. That’s not even the look of a top college QB. Maybe Prescott will make massive leaps by training camp July, but that’s only 75 days away. Sounds like a lot. It isn’t. In any case, he’ll need to be kept upright, and right now 60% of his protection looks shaky, with no real depth behind it. This is why they had to have a potential Hall of Game G, slide out to play OT. Adding Nsekhe was a good first step, but alone he doesn’t fix this unit’s Achilles heel. With all the weapons they have, (all of whom they had last year), they still finished 17th out of 32 in scoring. (-)
DE: It’s official. It’s been three seasons in a row. DeMarcus “War Daddy” Lawrence is now a shadow of himself. Even with help on the opposite side, his sack and QB hits are consistently down, and he never seems to affect games anymore. Randy Gregory recorded no starts in 2020, but looked good on spot detail with 3.5 sacks in ten games. The Cowboys have their fingers crossed that he can play 16 games with his hand in the dirt. Tarell Basham comes over from the Jets to add some rotational pass rush. While he will definitely get pressure on a QB, he’s strictly a stand-up rusher. Being unable to play from a three point stance, means not being to consistently play against the run. This position is in trouble, and anyone in sports media will tell you, and has been telling you, the exact same thing. (-)
DT:Antuan Woods is the Cowboys best player at a position that produced 1.5 sacks TOTAL, in 2020. To his credit, Woods produced a sack. He specializes in neither rushing the passer, nor stuffing the run, but he’s still the tone setter for this position thus far. Starting nine games as a rookie was Neville Gallimore. That other half sack was his. Again, neither stuffing the run, nor getting to the passer seems like his calling card. The Cowboys may be hoping for a big rebound from Trysten Hill, who opened 2020 as a starter, before tearing his ACL in Week 5. No matter. His play to that point was unremarkable. That is, when he wasn’t drawing flags and fines for a helmet to helmet hit on QB Russell Wilson on one play, and twisting the knee of RB Chris Carson, injuring him after the yet another play had ended. Real talk? Hill’s ACL tear had all the earmarks of Karma. Hill also clashed with Cowboys coaching staff in his rookie year. It will be interesting to see what kind of player the Cowboys get back from his rehab. Justin Hamilton got two starts in 2020, (and FYI, the Cowboys won both games). No one is afraid of this group. (-)
OLB:Leighton Vander Esch gives an all-out effort, but his production continues to fall off, as he continues to miss games with big injuries. Last year a broken collarbone cost him four weeks early in the season, and he was inactive for the last two games of the year. (Sean Lee remains in talks with the team, but at this moment, is still unsigned.) Keanu Neal is leaving the secondary and switching to this position. This gives the Cowboys more flexibility with coverage underneath. But how ready can Neal be at 216 pounds, to spend most of a game taking on offensive linemen? He will no doubt be targeted heavily every week, by opposing run games. That said, the position is a lot more athletic than they were at year’s end. That’s an improvement. (+)
MLB:Jaylon Smith is the second best player in the division at his position. He’s reliable, doesn’t stick to blockers, and can play in coverage as well as fight the run. Luke Gifford played a single defensive down in 2020. So yeah. Jaylon is super-reliable. (+)
S: Understanding that this position needed gentrification, the Joneses went out and added Damontae Kazee to be specific. Donovan Wilson looks to be safe at SS. Kazee has a reputation for having sticky fingers, so he likely has the inside track over Darian Thompson on the other starting gig. At 6’4’’ 215 free agent addition Jayron Kearse is tall. Good for him! (-)
CB:Trevon Diggs turned a lot of heads as a rookie in 2020. He played with tremendous confidence, whether he was making a play, or getting juiced over a mistake. Nabbing 3 picks and getting his hands on a total of 14 balls, will make teams treat him different in 2021. Anthony Brown struggled with injuries, and only started eight of the ten games he played.In fact, in five seasons he’s never started more than ten. Due to the Cowboys starting a Nickel alignment, Jourdan Lewis picked up 13 starts. Mostly in the slot.
This is also why teams elected to run on them so much. And did such a good job of it. Opting out of 2020 due to Covid-19 was former Raven Maurice Canady. The Cowboys signed him last year, but never got to take him for a spin. So in their minds, he’s still an unapplied upgrade. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: It’s always messy when a team decides to sign a guy to serious money, and then switch his position. Neal could be in for a pretty rough ride as an undersized LB in this division. Especially on a team that struggles to rush the passer. On most teams, Basham would be a sneaky good add, but the Cowboys already lack a DE who can stack the run. Adding one more as a back-up, seriously encourages opponents to run the ball on 3rd and short. This unit is so much faster than last year’s, but nothing about this side of the ball indicates that they can win in the trenches. (-)
K:Greg Zuerlein was pretty reliable 34/41 (82.9%) with 6 of his misses (3/9) coming from 50 or greater (33.3%). Otherwise he was 31/32 (96.8%) He was 33/36 (91.6%) on extra points. (+)
P:Hunter Niswander was the punter for the final 8 games of 2020. He had just 26 punts, so it’s a small sample size, but the sample had his average punt at 47.2 yards with a net of 42.0. If we’re going to nit-pick, of his 26 punts, 9 were returned for 95 yards (10.5 ypr), indicating that he’s totally over-kicking his coverage team. Given a training camp, he should be able to shave 3 or 4 yards off of that return average. What say we meet back here in a year, and discuss how he did? Aaaand out of nowhere, the Cowboys added 32 year old Bryan Anger, because Jerry Jones wanted to blow his stimulus money on a Texan antique. (See what I did there?) Anger is likely a camp body just brought in to keep a fire lit under Niswander this preseason. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: The legs on this unit are here to not lose the game. Just keep it close is all that’s asked of them. Should be an easy bar to reach. (+)
BOTTOM LINE:The Cowboys need a big Draft. Offensively, the QB has weapons, but is coming back from injury. The RB has spent the last THREE YEARS, regressing every year. The once vaunted offensive line, is better known for injuries these days. Their defense couldn’t stop anybody last year (28th out of 32), and the only additions to the roster so far, are role players and experiments. There’s a new DC, but most of the Cowboys problem last year, was losing battles in the trenches, and they haven’t gotten better on either side of the ball. In fact, most of the returning starters, are the same guys who were taking those whippings. But hey!
GOTTA admit it. I thought that either Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would cave, and give QB Dak Prescott his 40M$ per year deal, or that Prescott’s holdout would go into the season. I’d have bet good money on it lasting through Cowboys training camp. Well I’d have lost that money. Dak Prescott finally cried “Uncle!”. Or did he?
At first his signing made no sense to me. For about 12 seconds. Then the idea hit, and I felt like giving a high-five to Prescott’s agent. Very cagey move getting his client to sign now. I sat and waited two days for the NFL Network, or ESPN, or Fox Sports to weigh in, but nobody mentioned the genius behind this signing.
Well let me spill the beans, and also tell you how this helps the Eagles. It helps the entire NFC East, but it helps the Eagles in a much more immediate sense. Right now, the NFL is pushing to have a season in 2020, but the Coronavirus Pandemic (Covid-19) gets the last word on that.
If the NFL does manage a season, then Prescott plays for the tag. He plays for less than he wanted, but it’s still more than he’s ever made, and he’s doing what he loves. Unless he gets hurt, misses games and damages his pristine record, he’s still in line for a big deal in 2021.
Now here’s the genius of the signing. If the NFL cannot start or sustain the season, Prescott still gets credit for 2020. The money is his, fully guaranteed, he doesn’t get hurt, and he doesn’t “fail to make the playoffs/take another playoff loss”. It also puts the narrative on his side. He will have been “underpaid” for four years, then have signed a franchise tag. He’ll be undeniable.
So how does that help the division? Specifically the Eagles?
Signing the tag now, locks in the money that the Cowboys are spending on Prescott. True, the Cowboys said they wouldn’t rescind the tag, but up until Prescott signed it, the option still existed. That could have become cap space to offer Jets SS Jamal Adams, who recently requested a trade to one of seven teams that he prefers, Dallas being one of them.
Adams also named the Eagles as a preferred destination, and we have 22M in cap space, but we still have to sign our rookies. Not to mention that we’re projected to be 51M$ over the cap in 2021, and word is, the Eagles want to roll as much of 2020’s cap over into 2021 as possible.
Currently Dallas has about 11M$ in cap space. Between Prescott’s contract and still having to sign their rookie class, in particular first round Draft pick, WR Ceedee Lamb, the Cowboys will not have the money to offer Adams the 12-15M$ per year that he’s said to want. So Dak Prescott signing, effectively keeps Adams out of the NFC East. Making life easier for the division.
The Cowboys CAN afford to make such a move, if they cut DE Tyrone Crawford (9M$ in 2020), and a couple other players. Or they can gut their depth at tight end, offensive line, linebacker, and cornerback to make cap space.
Aside from DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Crawford is the only sure thing they have at the DE position. They hope that DE Aldon Smith can regain his old form, and they hope that DE Randy Gregory will be re-instated so that maybe he can possibly fulfill his potential.
In the event of a fully played season, having little to no depth, during a year when teams are expecting their rosters to be hit by Covid-19… That really helps your rivals. And it helps your strongest rival the most.
Who again is the Cowboys strongest rival? My guess would be the team that beat them and took away the division last year, driving them from the playoff picture. And who would that team be? You guessed it. THE EAGLES.
So from all of us Eagles fans from all across America, THANK YOU DAK PRESCOTT!!!
EAGLES QB Carson Wentz frequently plays and produces at an elite level. He has his flaws: He has a history of taking too many sacks, instead of getting rid of the ball quickly. He doesn’t run for enough cheap yardage. He leans too much on the TE position. In fairness, he seemed get past much of this by the end of 2019. It’ll be interesting to see how he opens 2020.
Even with his flaws, Carson’s young resume still boasts a constellation of stellar marks:
*He rarely throws interceptions, having never thrown more than 7 in a season, since his rookie season when he threw 14.
* His red zone stats look like something out of a Madden video game. In 55 games he’s thrown 72 touchdown vs just 2 interceptions in the red zone.
*He’s won the division twice out the four years that he’s been a pro. His first division win was iced even before he played the game in which he was lost for the season. By that point, he was an MVP candidate, and he had his team playing for home-field advantage in a year when his efforts would help win Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl.
* He won his second division crown throwing to a group of players (WR Greg Ward, WR Deontay Burnett, WR Robert Davis, RB Boston Scott, and TE Joshua Perkins) all of whom started the season as Practice Squaders. Burnett and Davis weren’t even on Philadelphia’s PS.
The fact is, Carson is a monster. Anytime someone wants to take a shot at him, they never attack his play. They attack the three regular season and three playoff games he missed in 2017. They attack the two first games of 2018 where Carson wanted to play, but the coaching staff held him out until the team doctor (since fired) cleared him. They attack the last 5 games of 2018 where again, Carson wanted to play (through stress fractures in his back), but was shut down by the coaching staff, on the advice of the (since fired) medical staff.
The question however was, is Carson Wentz elite? Is he to be mentioned in the Brady, Rodgers, Wilson, Brees, Mahomes crowd? Is he in that upper echelon of current NFL QB’s? The short answer is: No. He isn’t.
Currently, Carson is 0 – 1 in the playoffs. We Eagles fans can spin that 2019 playoff loss to Seattle any way we like, but the facts are, Carson started the game and the Eagles lost it. Period. Until Carson gets that first playoff win under his belt, he’s going to be the Buddy Ryan of QB’s: Great in the regular season, but the world’s greatest tease in the playoffs.
Carson’s arm strength, accuracy, ability to read defense, and ability to make plays that make other players gasp, are all top-notch. There is no doubt that he is an elite talent, but there is a difference between being a “talent”, and being a guy who delivers. To become an elite QB, to become a guy who delivers, Carson has to get this team to an NFC Championship game.
REMEMBER during the 2020 Draft, Eagles GM Howie Roseman said that he wanted the Eagles to be a “QB factory”. Well the first product to roll off the line may be QB Nate Sudfeld. Regrettably the Eagles only have Sudfeld under contract for 2020, so we won’t get anything for him, but the Dallas Cowboys seem like the most likely 2021 landing spot for him.
Currently Dallas is embroiled in a fruitless standoff with free agent QB Dak Prescott. The Cowboys slapped a 31M$ franchise tag on him, as a counter to his unconfirmed request of over 40M$ per year. The two sides are so far apart, that unless one side caves completely, you can just about bet that Prescott won’t sign the tag, and has already played his last down as a Cowboy.
I’m guessing it tops out at about 33 million?
At this rate, this time next year will see Prescott in another jersey, and the Cowboys will be in search of a new franchise QB. Unless they tank in 2020, they likely won’t have a shot at one in the 2021 Draft. So their search might take years. Unless they hit upon another QB like Tony Romo (undrafted free agent), or Prescott (4th rounder). Right?
Problem with bargain basement QB’s is that they tend to yield bargain basement playoff success. Romo and Prescott have a combined 3 – 6 playoff record. Neither ever made it past the Divisional round while they were a Cowboy. QUICK! Where was Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman selected? Oh that’s right! He was a #1 overall pick in 1989. He also won three Super Bowls.
So don’t expect much from the Cowboys trying to take a shortcut. Bargain basement effort, yields bargain basement returns.Top-shelf is on the top shelf for a reason. Reaching for anything else…is just settling. And unless 3 – 6 is your style, settling ain’t winning.
Next year the Cowboys will need a QB, and the guy they’re trying to short-change, will have an easier time finding job, than the Cowboys will of finding a new QB. That will leave the Cowboys with options like what’s left of Cam Newton or Phillip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett (not a bad option), Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Jameis Winston, or Nate Sudfeld. Folks, those are the highlights of the 2021 QB free agent market.
But Nate Sudfeld? Why Nate Sudfeld and not those other guys?
If the Cowboys are going to start looking for a franchise QB, they can only go one of two routes: A) Hand the keys to a rookie and roll the dice, or B) Develop a QB, to give him a bonafide chance to succeed. Picking door #1 could yield any result. Door #2 however, is a process. That’s where they would need Nate, specifically.
To develop a QB, a team has to do it from a point of stability. So they first need to start out with a QB who they can rely on if the new guy is a dud. So they’d need youth. Not raw youth, because then their older free agents won’t stick around to lose games, thus creating holes that will cost more draft picks. He also can’t be so bad that fans will scream for the young guy, well before he’s ready.
They’ll also need the QB to be relatively inexpensive. This is because getting some of those older FA’s to stay, will mean overpaying them. A young QB needs stability around him. Constant change has wasted plenty of promising QB talent. Right, RG3?
The final ingredient, is a guy that fans will let a team move on from, once that young gun is ready for the job. So while a guy like Brissett may look appealing from the get-go, you don’t want him accidentally growing on your fan base.
Nate Sudfeld was almost cooked up in a lab to be the Cowboys 2021 starter. Not a heavyweight, but not a lightweight. He’s been well-coached, isn’t too expensive, not an injury risk, has prototypical build, strong enough arm, comes from a winning culture, and might bring a wealth of intel about the enemy. Comb that list up there, and you’ll see that no one even comes close.
So why is an Eagles fan so giddy over the thought of Nate going there? Because the Cowboys will almost certainly not opt for developing a QB. Even if they do, the process takes a couple of years. That means barring a miracle after 2020, a division rival is out of the running for a minimum of two years. Longer if they get their gamble wrong.
Oh by the way. Keep in mind that ALL OF THIS is balanced against the ticking of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s biological clock. So they will feel obligated to rush all of this. And people in a big rush, always do stupid things. Sometimes VERY stupid, costly things.
Damn. If only we’d signed Nate to a two year deal.
REMEMBER June of 2019, when I wrote that QB Carson Wentz’s new contract wrecked the future for the Dallas Cowboys? If you don’t here’s the link. In it I explained why the Eagles signing their QB, meant a long-term downturn for the Cowboys. Things I said in that article, were confirmed in an article I wrote that following July. Here’s that link.
Understand, I live in Philadelphia. Never been to Dallas. Never even flexed shoe leather in the state of Texas. I have no internal sources on the Cowboys team. But Skip, this was a prophecy that called ahead, and told everyone to save the date!
As of now, 6:30a.m. Sunday May 3rd, 2020, QB Dakota Prescott has yet to sign his 33M$ franchise tag, because he’s been saying all along that he wants 40M$ per year. In response, the Cowboys ran out and signed recently released Bengals QB Andy Dalton, to a 1 year, 7M$ deal. While Dalton is a bargain at that price, and an upgrade over back-up QB and preseason Hall of Famer Cooper Rush, make no mistake, this was meant as a shot across Prescott’s bow.
Meanwhile, Cowboys fans are lapping this up like kitties to cream. That’s because they aren’t seeing the bigger picture. They frequently take their eye off the ball, lose their place, and then wonder how they keep ending up in that same spot. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones distracts them with something shiny, and (yet again), everyone forgets that there was a plan.
Funny thing is, it’s very likely to (yet again) blow up in Jones’s face. Last year during RB Ezekiel Elliott’s hold-out, Jones taunted Elliott when he praised RB Tony Pollard with the quote “Zeke who?” after Pollard had a decent showing (5 carries 42 yards) in a preseason game. Elliott continued his holdout, and when Jones caved, Elliott was given a 90M$ contract.
Having seen that playbook, Prescott has to know that he should sit until Jerry Jones caves. Either that or not sign, sit out the year, and show up in 2021 wearing a Redskins, Bears, Colts, Buccaneers, or Titans jersey. Meanwhile, the Cowboys would have to start their search for a franchise QB all over again.
Speaking of playbooks! The Cowboys have changed their head coach, but they’re running the same offense as before, with last year’s coordinator. If Prescott signs quickly, that offense can hit the ground running. If Dalton starts, then he has to learn the system from the ground up. The Cowboys are in “win now” mode, but starting Dalton would derail all of that, right from the start.
No OTA’s, and no mini-camp, with a shortened training camp this year. Not a good look for a team with a new head coach. Especially in a division that features a division champ that won while they were wounded, but now is healed up, and has added weapons.
The Eagles are not in “win now” mode. The Eagles are in predator mode. They don’t have to worry about a learning curve, and a short camp works in favor of a roster that has seen too many recent injuries. While the short camp situation works against other teams, it actually works for the Eagles. So it’s not minus one Cowboys, zero Eagles. It’s minus one Cowboys, plus one Eagles. Just on preparedness alone.
For the Cowboys to have a chance, Jerry needs Prescott to start. Otherwise, 2020 is another 8 – 8 record, and possibly third place finish, instead of a fight for #1.
BACK in July I told everyone that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott had all the leverage, during his holdout. The Cowboys talked tough, and said they would not re-set the RB market. The owner Jerry Jones joked “Zeke who?” They brought in a former back-up, and tried to talk up a rookie change of pace back.
They barked, postured and ultimately caved entirely, to Elliott’s demand to be the highest paid RB in the game’s history. They gave him a 6 year, 90 million dollar extension, with a whopping 50 million of it guaranteed. In the process, they totally re-set the RB market.
But Elliott is beside the point. He was always going to get everything he wanted. I made that point over a month ago, with people telling me I was wrong.
Again, Elliott is beside the point. The real question is what about QB Dak Prescott? Remember his demand for 40 million per year? The QB sits at the head of the table right? If the Cowboys caved to one of Prescott’s supporting cast, surely they have to be about to cave into him as well, right?
If Prescott doesn’t get an offer that he likes this season, he can fly the coop and test free agency in March. That would leave them with no QB and limited options. The Cowboys could franchise tag him, but if he doesn’t sign it, they are again without a QB.
Jerry Jones is in a position where he either has to grossly overpay Prescott, or tell him to his face that he’s not worth the money. Either way, Prescott’s contract talks will do visible harm to the team, starting in March of 2020.
THE Cowboys swept the Eagles in 2018. That was a classic case of winning a battle, but losing a war. Make no mistake, from a long-term perspective, the Cowboys have already lost this war, because the Eagles have effectively shut any Super Bowl window that the Cowboys may have had.
When I said that, I was under the impression that the financial issues that Dallas is enduring now, wouldn’t hit until March of 2020. I figured QB Dak Prescott would play out his rookie deal quietly. I figured WR Amari Cooper would play out his deal quietly. I figured RB Ezekiel Elliott would play out his deal as well, mostly quietly.
I saw this financial bind coming, I just didn’t think their players would trigger it. There was no way to see this coming. Had you told me in June, that Dallas would be going through this in 2019, I’d have dismissed it as a delusional fantasy, from a rival fan. I’d have said “You’re playing at FARCE! There’s no way the Cowboys players would derail their own team in that fashion!”
Yet here we are. So then, why do I credit the Eagles with what is happening in Dallas. How does QB Carson Wentz signing his contract, derail an entire franchise 1,500 miles away? How can the two things be connected? Surely I’m grasping at straws, right?
I’m going to keep this VERY simple. I’m going to draw three Simple Lines of Reasoning, and make it so that anybody who’s literate will understand it. There is no rocket science here. There is no “fuzzy math”. There is no smoke, nor mirrors. Here we go.
(FACT) Wentz signs his deal in Philly for 32M$ per year on his extension.
(SLR) Dak Prescott in Dallas realizes that he hasn’t missed any games, he has won two division titles, he has played in actual playoff games, and head to head he “owns” Wentz. Prescott thinks he deserves more money.
(FACT) At the end of 2019 the Cowboys have to re-sign both Prescott, and Amari Cooper. If Prescott and the Cowboys don’t reach a deal during the season, Prescott will be Franchise tagged at about 33.9M$ per year. Cooper will command between 18 and 20M$ per year, and is a MUST HAVE, to legitimize Prescott’s tagged cap figure. On the low side, that comes in at 51.9M for those two players in 2020.
(SLR) Ezekiel Elliott has two years remaining on his rookie deal, but realizes that all of his potential extension money is going out the door NOW. Especially if he gets hurt, or has already been hurt, and is hiding it from the team to keep his value from depreciating. Powerbacks don’t have long NFL careers. If he or his doctor already sees a coming issue, he HAS TO hold out now. Once Prescott and Cooper have their checks in hand, there’ll be no more room at the feeding trough in two years.
(FACT) The Cowboys could’ve locked Prescott up for about 27M$ per year last year, but they didn’t. Prescott being paid less than QB’s Russell Wilson (35M per year, 1SB win, 2 appearances), Ben Rothlisberger (34M, 2SB wins), and Aaron Rodgers (33.5M, 1 SB win), was one thing. However, when Wentz with ZERO playoff wins, signed for 32M, it changed the valuation metrics.
(SLR)Prescott could sign with the Cowboys for a one year extension, and then once the new CBA is done, (with a much higher cap figure), then giving him a deal of 35M to 42M would be an easy lift. However, salary figures are ego driven. It’s not just about how many dollars a contract is worth, it’s also about what percentage of the cap can you get a team to commit to just you as a player. Making 34M of a 188M cap (18.0%), is less valuable than making 45M of a 260M cap (17.3%). There’s a difference of 9M in dollars, but it’s not about the dollars. Prescott can make up that 9M on an endorsement deal for Ford pick-up trucks, or Charles Schwab investments or whatever. It’s about being able to say “I mattered this much.” “I was this important to them.” “Once upon a time, I was the top. I was the pinnacle.” The QB that had to wait four rounds to hear his name, wants to say that he made it. In that regard he HAS TO beat Wentz’s deal. It otherwise invalidates beating his stats.
People keep missing the forest for the trees. We live in age of loud voices, too much make-up, and movement for the sake of movement. What are you saying? Who are you underneath all that? Where are you really trying to go? Nuance now seems lost on most people. People disregard the small details, even though they influence everything.
Like the way one small signature in South Philly, tore down an entire franchise in Dallas.
BACK on June 7th, I said that the Eagles signing of QB Carson Wentzto a 4 year extension, forces the Dallas Cowboysinto a phone booth. I figured that those chickens would come home to roost at the end of the 2019-2020 season. However, events have conspired to actually hasten the demise of the Cowboys 2019 season, and likely beyond.
The first event was attempting contract negotiation with Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. A smarter team would have let the season start, gauged Prescott’s effectiveness or lack thereof, then made him an offer accordingly. Especially since they seem less than gung-ho, about committing to him long term for some reason.
Laugh if you want. She can probably suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.
Instead the Cowboys tried to get ahead of an inflating market, far too late into the process. If they were going to do that, they should have done so before a QB with lesser stats (Wentz), was inked to an offer commensurate with what franchise QB’s are going for today.
The second event was the “leaked” plan of Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, to hold out if he doesn’t get a new deal, two years early. The Cowboys win when Elliott plays, and they lose when he doesn’t. If the Cowboys don’t pay him, they’re left with an over-rated, soon to be over-paid QB, throwing to their star (ugh, unintended pun) WR Amari Cooper, who’s on the last year of his deal, having said that he plans to play his contract out.
(FYI: Cooper is waiting to see what kind of money Falcons WR Julio Jones pulls down, to see what the market looks like. There is ZERO guarantee that he stays in Dallas.)
I won’t even mention all the other expiring contracts the Cowboys have to deal with at season’s end. As it stands, these three are problematic enough on their own, but they’re hitting all at once. And what’s crazy is that NONE of them needs to be!
The reason I say “it’s already starting” is because today the Cowboys cut WR Allen Hurns, after he refused a pay cut. He was scheduled to carry a 2019 cap hit of 6.25M (4M base, 1.25M signing bonus, 1M roster bonus), but cutting him saves the Cowboys his 4M base. This 4M is money that they can now reallocate.
What this is, is a cannibalizing of the roster. I say this, because this is just the first of these moves. Lesser Cowboys are being ground up, to ensure that Jerry Jones team can feed his stars.
This team’s starting QB, RB, and #1 WR are all playing with contracts on their minds. Either you have to prepare for the reality of losing one very shortly, or you have to realize that the only way to pay those three, is at the expense of their teammates. And don’t even entertain the notion of winning the division with such distraction looming.