Dak Prescott could find himself netting a third contract with the Cowboys fairly soon, and the team is all-in on trying to make sure the pieces being placed around him are the right ones
INDIANAPOLIS — By all accounts, Dak Prescott will remain with the Dallas Cowboys for a very long time to come. The two-time Pro Bowler enters the 2023 offseason with the possibility of seeing his contract extended, an idea the front office is not only open to but, seemingly, driven toward achieving, particularly considering the salary cap savings they'd gain from such a move.
The club could gain tens of millions of dollars toward the cap by extending Prescott, and it would also guarantee they won't have to worry about locating another franchise quarterback anytime soon — a task that is continually proven as much easier said-than-done.
"We're going to build it off of what he has established," said head coach Mike McCarthy, speaking from the 2023 NFL Combine. "My decision to stay with his concepts, and so forth, is still intact because I wouldn't have done what I did in 2020 if I didn't believe in him. As an organization, myself included, feel very strongly about him as our future.
"We will definitely build this thing around him."
That being said, there's yet another change awaiting Prescott and the Cowboys offense this coming season, considering it'll be McCarthy calling the plays with Brian Schottenheimer helping to coordinate the offense in place of Kellen Moore, who is now with the Los Angeles Chargers.
This will mark the third time in Prescott's seven-year career that he'll enter a season with a new play-caller, having moved from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore and now to Mike McCarthy.
"This is a new challenge for him and these are his words: he's very excited about it," McCarthy said. "I think he's had a chance to go from the different variations of the offense that was in place, and he's getting to take another [one] in what we're [preparing] to do."
Despite the aforementioned changes at play-caller [and at receiver, and on the offensive line], a healthy Prescott has continued to lead the Cowboys into being one of the more prolific offenses in the entire NFL since starting his career as a fourth-round compensatory pick in 2016.
He's had his downs, as all quarterbacks do, but he's helped deliver success far more often than not, and Dallas has since taken another step toward finally ending their longstanding Super Bowl drought by advancing to the NFC Divisional Round this past season — for the first time in half a decade — with eyes on taking another step, or hopefully two, in the campaign to come.
"The overall foundation of our football team is strong — real strong," said Executive Vice President and Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones at the Combine. "Dak is the ultimate team leader. He's got an insatiable appetite to be great and clean up whatever he needs to clean up. It all starts with the quarterback, and I think we've got ours."
Building around Prescott not only involves tweaks to the coaching staff, e.g., quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator role, but also in the personnel the team surrounds him with, and that will also, ultimately, be one of the biggest determining factors or how the journey for the Cowboys will end in 2023.
"I think with the players around him, we've got a great foundation," Jones added. "This is a team that I think has won more games other than Kansas City in the last few years. We're not getting it done, obviously. Putting a string of three to four games in the playoff together where we play at a high level."
Turning the corner will likely involve getting a bit more aggressive in free agency, something the Cowboys did in 2022, when assessing signings such as Anthony Barr, Jason Peters, T.Y. Hilton and the trade for Johnathan Hankins in October, as some examples.
And then there was the very public and lengthy courtship with Odell Beckham, Jr., one that will be revisited this offseason.
"We're always aggressive," said Jones. "I'd like to hope that we can make our team better."
As the Cowboys work toward that goal, they do so feeling great about their QB1.