FRISCO, Texas — In Jerry Jones’ ideal world, the quarterback Trey Lance Dallas never underplays for the Cowboys.
Instead, Dak Prescott This season led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl championship for the first time since 1995. Then he signed the biggest contract in NFL history. Jones, the owner and general manager, who turns 81 in October, was relieved to end a championship drought that spanned 30 years. And Lance goes on to start his career again after 2024.
But ideal worlds are hard to come by, and the addition of Lance, who was acquired from the San Francisco 49ers for a fourth-round pick on Friday, provides the Cowboys with some cover.
Remember, this is a franchise that, after Troy Aikman retired after the 2000 season, started eight different quarterbacks until Tony Romo, an undrafted free agent in 2003, started in 2006 and held the job for the next 10 seasons.
Of those, they went with Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf, Clint Storner, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson and Drew Bledsoe.
From 2001 to 2005, these teams weren’t as ready to win as the Cowboys believed they were with a nucleus. Micah Parsons, Trayvon Diggs, Jack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyler Smith, Malik Hooker, Michael Gallup And strong young players signed beyond 2023.
Prescott is signed through 2024. He will make $29 million next season and count $59.4 million against the salary cap. Moving on after this season would be very expensive from a cap perspective, but not impossible. Jones mentioned a desire to extend Prescott’s contract, but there hasn’t been much discussion of a new deal.
Prescott, who turned 30 last month, has missed 17 starts over the past three seasons with a broken right ankle, a calf strain and a broken right thumb. As Prescott took every rep in the offseason program and training camp for the first time in what he estimated was four years, he said he felt as healthy as September. 10 openers coming up against the New York Giants.
Given his age, years as a starter and expectations, he faces a pressure-filled 2023.
Depending on how this season goes, the Cowboys should at least select a quarterback high in Prescott’s contract status in the 2024 draft. Maybe not as high as moving up in the first round to take a top prospect like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, but certainly not as low as a late-Day 3 pick.
On Lance, the Cowboys will have his contractual rights through 2025 if they exercise a fifth-year option after this season, though that would also be expensive. The Green Bay Packers worked out a fifth-year option jordan love A one-year extension in 2024 costs him less than the option this season but guarantees him more up-front money.
The Cowboys had Lance’s score in the second round, which went to no. 3 overall in the 2021 draft, from multiple sources. They are willing to give away high draft picks that haven’t panned out to other teams in years, such as offensive tackle Mark Colombo, a 2002 first-round pick of the Chicago Bears, who suffered injuries. The Cowboys signed him in 2005, and he was their right tackle for the next five seasons. Hooker, a former first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, is another example.
They both proved that they can play. Can Lance really play? No one–not even the cowboys–knows. But the Cowboys only risk a fourth-round pick.
A pick they hope will be at the end of the round because Prescott delivers.