It’s Rayne-ing Dollars in Dallas

The Rayne Dakota Prescott contract saga in Dallas is finally over. After months of “will they, won’t they?”, sanity has prevailed and Prescott has signed a four-year contract to remain the franchise quarterback of America’s Team. Adam Schefter announced the details of the contract which includes $126million in guaranteed money and Dak will earn an eye-watering $75M in his first year which includes a record-breaking $66M (!) signing bonus:

For a further breakdown of the contract, check out Over the Cap. The good news for Dallas is that the projected cap hit for his deal will be approximately $15.5 million less than had Dak played under the franchise tag for a second consecutive year. 

As is tradition with record-breaking contracts, the discourse will revolve around whether Dak’s play to date merits such a large contract. In my opinion, he does. Over the past couple of seasons, he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in football ranking sixth in EPA per play since 2019.

Injury Worries?

I am certainly no injury expert, but according to reports Dak had been making “great progress” in his recovery. Given the size and length of this deal, it’s also a reasonable conclusion to draw that the Cowboys are 100% satisfied that Prescott will return to full health for the 2021 season. Nobody will have more detailed inside information than the Dallas medical staff, and they are not worried, I am not worried. 

Fantasy Production & Outlook

With this extension in place, and with the core of offensive weapons around him, Dak firmly sits inside my Top 5 dynasty quarterback rankings as a part of my second tier: 

Tier 1Patrick Mahomes

Tier 2Deshaun Watson / Dak Prescott / Kyler Murray

Tier 3Josh Allen / Lamar Jackson / Justin Herbert

Since 2016, Prescott has finished as a top 10 fantasy quarterback every year and was on pace to do so again in 2020. Only Russell Wilson can match this consistency. 

– 2016 – QB6

– 2017 – QB10

– 2018 – QB10

– 2019 – QB2

– 2020 – QB1 on a PPG basis after 5 games

What is remarkable about his 2020 pace is that he had the lowest passing touchdown rate of his career (4.1%). I’m excited to see a healthy Dak Prescott, free from the conservative play-calling of Jason Garrett. From 2016 to 2019, Dallas passed the ball on just 39% of their first downs. Through the first five weeks of 2020 (pre-injury), Dallas threw the ball on 60% of the first downs (per Sharp Football Stats). As expected, with Dak out of the picture the Cowboys moved to a more balanced offense, but they still threw the ball on 53% of first downs. If this holds (and given McCarthy’s play-calling history it should), Dak won’t even need to have an outlier year in touchdown rate to have fantasy success. If he does, however, he has the upside and ability to finish as the overall QB1. 

In 2021, the Dallas offense should fire on all cylinders. Their previously decimated offensive line will be bolstered by the return of All-Pro’s Tyron Smith and Zach Martin, as well as La’El Collins and Tyler Biadasz. Don’t be surprised to see Dallas add some depth to the line in the draft as well. They will want to protect their franchise investment, especially playing against the monstrous pass rush of the Washington Football Team twice a year 

The wide receiver trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup might be the best in the NFL, and they will be duly supported by Dalton Schultz and the returning Blake Jarwin. Ezekiel Elliott will look to bounce back from the worst year of his career, whilst Tony Pollard will surely continue to be one of the most elusive backs in football when his number is called:

Contract security. A strong offensive line. Elite pass-catching weapons. Aggressive playcalling. Dak is poised for a monster year in 2021 and I fully expect him to deliver.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Let me know what you think of the Dak contract on Twitter @FF_DownUnder! My DMs are always open!

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