Denver Broncos: Dak Prescott’s price tag should not prevent pursuit

Dak Prescott, Denver Broncos QB blockbuster trade ideas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott, Denver Broncos QB blockbuster trade ideas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

As the 2021 NFL offseason slowly begins, the league is expected to experience movement like we may never have seen before.  One of these players who can create an earthquake in the offseason is Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.

It has been rumored that Prescott is seeking a contract that will pay him over $40 million per year, which has many people turning away in disgust.

I’ve seen many people in Broncos Country scoff at this number, turning away in a fit of rage, clamoring that we need to stick it out with Drew Lock. I do agree with them mostly, but, if we’re being honest, Dak Prescott allegedly wanting $40 million per year is exactly where the quarterback market is, and no team should be afraid to pull out their checkbook and meet his demands.

A few years ago, Jimmy Garoppolo signed a massive contract extension that had an average annual value of $27.5 million per year, which was seen as massive at the time.

Just last year, Patrick Mahomes signed an extension that has an AAV (average annual value) of $45 million per year, which more than reset the market for quarterbacks. Dak Prescott is seeking a contract that places him ‘right behind Mahomes.’

If Prescott becomes available in free agency, the Denver Broncos should meet his contractual demands.

Firstly, he had a great year in his last full season as a starter, throwing for 30 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions, nearly hitting 5,000 passing yards on a 65.1% completion percentage.

In 2020, before his injury, he was on pace to throw for roughly 30 touchdowns again. Not only that, he was on pace to pass for around 6,000 yards as well.

Prescott has played his best football since the beginning of the 2019 season and does deserve a large contract extension.

Secondly, $40 million a year shouldn’t be a turnoff for a team like the Broncos. I know it’s a huge number, but with the salary cap gradually increasing every year (besides this year, of course), quarterback contracts, and all contracts in general will almost always inflate.

For example, Joe Flacco’s major contract extension after the 2012 season was $20 million in AAV, which made up roughly 16.3% of the following season’s salary cap.

Patrick Mahomes’ contract extension, which came in at $45 million in AAV, made up roughly 22.7% of the 2020 salary cap, and Deshaun Watson’s $39 million AAV contract extension made up roughly 19.7% of the salary cap,

For Dak Prescott, seeking $40 million in AAV is right on par with what other quarterbacks have been paid, and nearly identical to the percentage of the salary cap.

From 2013 until 2020, the salary cap rose roughly 6-7.2% per year.  So, without COVID, we could reasonably project the 2021 salary cap to have been right around $211.28 million per team.

To calculate that, I took the average of 6% and 7.2%, which is 6.6%, and then I added 6.6% to the $198.2 million salary cap for this year.

If we factor in Prescott’s alleged demands of a $40 million AAV contract, that would have been roughly 18.9% of the 2021 salary cap if COVID didn’t hit.

Giving his contract demand some perspective shows us that his demands are precise, and he is a borderline top 10 talent. Dak is mobile, can throw on the run, has great accuracy, can take hits, and is built like a Ford F-250.

He’s a great quarterback who has been subjected to the clown show that is the Dallas Cowboys franchise. Dak would be an upgrade for numerous teams, and his contract demands should not shy anyone away.

I cannot project what the salary cap is going to be for 2022, but signing Dak for $40 million AAV will look like chump change once some of the younger quarterbacks get paid.

Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Hebert are all poised to continually reset the market at quarterback.

It’s common sense that as the salary cap grows, the contracts grow, so this argument may not be needed, but I did want to clear up the Dak contract demands situation for those in Broncos Country who are apprehensive about the idea of signing him for what he desires.

If the Broncos were to land Deshaun Watson in a trade, he would eventually need a contract extension and being that he is clearly better than Dak, he may ask for more.

Whatever happens with the quarterback situation in Denver is not up to me, or to us, but looking at the financial impact of acquiring a Pro Bowl quarterback is fun to discuss.