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Helman: Did Wentz Raise Dak's Price Tag?


FRISCO, Texas – Just like that, a big domino has fallen.

Slowly but surely, Dak Prescott's contract picture is coming into focus, and it has never looked clearer than it does following the news of Carson Wentz's own extension.

The Eagles' quarterback signed a four-year contract extension on Thursday evening, tacking four more years onto his deal at a cost of $128 million, with $107 million guaranteed.

The new deal figures to pay Wentz $32 million per year over the course of the extension, and the $107 in guarantees oh-so-slightly eclipses the guarantees given to Russell Wilson just two months ago.

More importantly for the purposes of this story, this means that Wentz is the first of the 2016 quarterback class to get his big pay day. There had been speculation that Prescott might – or perhaps should – be the first to see a contract extension, but the Eagles now hold that distinction.

So what does that mean, exactly?

For starters, it further kills the notion that Dak Prescott can be re-signed for some sort of discount. Wilson's deal should have already quashed that idea, but it is fair to say that Wilson is a much more accomplished quarterback.

In this case, Wentz is a much closer comparison in terms of resume and experience. In fact, it's pretty manageable to make the argument that Prescott has enjoyed the better career so far.

Yes, Wentz's 2017 season was the best of either player's NFL tenure to this point. He put up MVP-caliber numbers en route to 11 wins, and he helped put the Eagles in position to win Super Bowl LII.

That season ended in injury for Wentz, though – as did his 2018 season, which saw him play just 11 games and watch Nick Foles lead the team during the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

By contrast, Prescott has yet to miss a game since taking over for Tony Romo in 2016. That availability has allowed him to build an edge on Wentz in passing yards, total touchdowns, wins and division championships.

His edge in completion percentage, yards per attempt and quarterback rating don't hurt, either. And that's not to mention Prescott's eight fourth quarter comebacks and 14 game-winning drives, as opposed to four of each for Wentz.

That's a lot of numbers, but they serve a purpose. You're crazy if you don't think Dak Prescott has a statistical case to be paid comparably – or perhaps more – than Carson Wentz. You're also crazy if you don't think Prescott's representatives are aware of this fact.

By beating the Cowboys to the negotiation table, the Eagles got their guy for what well could be the cheapest price of all. Prescott and his people will no doubt be gunning for numbers, as will Jared Goff – who is represented by the same agent as Wentz.

For his part, Prescott is a smart guy and understands this fact. As his representatives and the Cowboys traded offers, he was asked recently how he felt about the negotiations. He deferred to the economics of the situation.

"When you look at numbers, I think a lot of it is about the market," he said. "So I don't really pay attention to any of that. I come in and I just prove myself each and every day to the guys in this locker room."

He's right of course. More than anything else, the market dictates what a starting quarterback is worth. Subjective opinions about who is the better player are mostly irrelevant. What matters is that a player from Prescott's draft class, with a similar resume, has just set the bar.

It's a good bet that Dak is going to meet that bar, or maybe even surpass it. The only real question is how much higher the price will climb while he waits for his turn to sign.