The days of good deals on NFL QBs are over, and not just in Dallas

Once upon a time – like on Monday when I wrote that the Texans couldn’t possibly trade a quarterback as good as Deshaun Watson – that at least one NFL principle seemed sacrosanct. The Packers CEO was on hand when asked if Aaron Rodgers should resume his lawn service in Green Bay.

“We’re not idiots,” said Mark Murphy, who is apparently not a spokesman for the rest of the league.

We have never seen so many high quality quarterbacks. Aside from the top class ones (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Mac Jones and Kyle Trask), a group talented enough on their own, we can reportedly add Watson, Matthew Stafford, maybe Carson Wentz and Jared Goff and possibly even Dak Prescott for screaming loudly.

And that’s still not enough inventory to supply the number of teams that are supposedly in the market for a new quarterback.

The reason the Cowboys could be included, of course, is because of the contract crisis, which predates Bernie Sanders’ mittens. If Jerry Jones had just struck a deal when it should have been before Zeke Elliott and Jaylon Smith got paid, no one would question the cowboys’ commitment. He could have got Dak cheaper too. Believe me, the days of great deals on quarterbacks are over, and not just in Dallas.

Gone are the days when organizations had the upper hand, when the cowboys designed, identified, and swapped quarterbacks seemingly at will. Once a quarterback proves himself, he’s golden. He not only gets his money, he gets a stake. Watson is reportedly wanting to get out of Houston because he was promised to have a say in hiring a general manager and head coach, and he didn’t get it either way. He has the right to be checked, and not just because he can’t do any worse than some of those in charge in Houston.

Lucky for the Cowboys, Dak doesn’t seem to have a problem with how they run things in the Star because he might have a case as good as Watson’s. Jerry Jones has no complaints against Dak. He got it cheap for four years and now he’s paying for it. Better keep paying too, because I don’t like his chances of finding a better alternative in this market too.

First, think about what the cowboys might have available in the draft. If they don’t act, they won’t have a shot at Lawrence, Wilson, or Fields. Maybe not Lance either. You wouldn’t call either Jones or Trask Fleet. They may turn out to be good, but stationary quarterbacks aren’t a trend in the NFL.

Besides, I shouldn’t have to remind you of the NFL’s success rate in drafting quarterbacks. Before the Cowboys took Dak with the 135th design election in 2016, Jared Goff, Wentz, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, Cody Kessler and Connor Cook went first. Goff and Wentz went 1-2 on that draft and quarterbacked teams that went to Super Bowls. However, their respective directors have refused to commit to their future.

Of all the quarterbacks from draft 16, Dak is the only one whose arrow is still pointing up.

You might say the quarterbacks in this draft are far better than they were in year 16. Lawrence certainly is. I’d argue that without his hip injury, Tua Tagovailoa would have been valued more highly than the rest of this year’s bunch when he came out last year. Did you see his rookie season in Miami? Some teammates told the Miami Herald that not only were they unimpressed, they also preferred Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Do you remember Dak’s epic rookie season when he replaced Tony Romo, who is at least a bit better than Ryan Fitzpatrick?

No look from a single cowboy when Romo was ready to return.

Dak’s teammates love him because he’s tough, talented and overwhelmed. As our film major, John Owning, recently pointed out, Dak has improved immensely across the board over the past few years. There is no doubt that he will continue to improve based on his experience and approach to his craft.

Here’s the thing about quarterbacks: you don’t know how they react to the heat until you drop them into a boiling pot. Even then, they need to keep learning as the defense adapts to them.

So if newbies are out, what about veterans? Stafford, an alum from Highland Park, has established a foothold in town. He did Patrick Mahomes things before Patrick Mahomes. I like stafford. He got a rough deal in Detroit, and it’ll be fun to see what he’s doing in Indianapolis, San Francisco or Washington, for example.

But he will take a 74-93-1 career record. Lions fans shouldn’t hold grudges, but quarterbacks are judged by how much they win. People like to say that anyway. So let’s compare the regular season and playoff records together:

Quarterback. . . . Profit percentage

Stafford. . . .443

Watson. . . .518

Wentz. . . .514

Goff. . . .595

Prescott. . . .597

For fun, consider one more thing: .830. This is Mahomes’ overall win percentage. Some of you like to compare Dak to the Kansas City prodigy, which is a little unfair. If Leody Taveras becomes the Rangers’ greatest midfielder, I won’t disapprove of him if he’s still not Willie Mays.

Did you know that as great as Mahomes is and will be, his share of the profits at Texas Tech was .488? Winning is undoubtedly part of the equation. But there is much more to judging a quarterback than just that or how well he turns a ball. There is so much behind it that it is not worth starting over. Better the quarterback you know than the one you don’t know.

More cowboys coverage from the Dallas Morning News can be found here.

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