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Mailbag: What If LA Or Detroit Had Called Cowboys?

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For two years the Cowboys have been raked over the coals in the media for not signing Dak "early." Now, the media is raking the Rams and Eagles over the coals for signing Goff and Wentz early. So what is the answer? Sign early or wait as long as possible until committing long term? — JEFF GALLO / CO

David: This is a great point and an interesting question. I think the brutally honest answer is that it doesn't matter – as long as you're right that the guy you're paying is worth it. Obviously it's hard to know that answer ahead of time, but I think it's still probably a better bet to gamble early while the price is still low. Take San Francisco for instance. They made Jimmy Garoppolo the highest-paid QB in the league after just five starts. Has he been worth that? Probably not. But as the salary cap has continued to rise, his deal has become easier and easier to manage. The NFL is about to sign a new batch of TV contracts, and new money will be pouring in over the next 2-3 years – which means any deal that Dak signs this spring will look like a bargain in no time. That's what eases my concerns about paying him.

Nick: It's a tough question because every situation seems to be different. But yeah, the Eagles and Rams are both wishing they would've waited before they struck those deals. And that seems to be the problem with the system here. It's like NFL teams feel forced to sign these quarterbacks just because they're eligible to do so. The only team that hasn't really followed that model is the Cowboys. But again, it's not like they're free of the criticism either. They now find themselves in a mess because they have just a few more weeks to get this deal done and if not, it seems like Dak will probably only be here for one more year. So to answer your question ... I don't have one. There is no right answer. The Chiefs did a good job by signing early. The Rams, Eagles, Texans, Raiders, Lions ... maybe not. As for the Cowboys, only time will tell.

It's conceivable to think the Rams would have made a similar trade for Dak, his own contract status being the major difference. If the same offer had come in for exchange of Dak would you do it? Why? Why not? — TONY STREETMAN / BENTON, LA

David: I wouldn't touch that deal for two big reasons. Firstly, I don't think Jared Goff is a great quarterback. I certainly don't think he's better than Dak Prescott. I'm guessing the Rams agree with me, since they paid a fortune to acquire a new quarterback. On top of that, it's a reasonable guess that those first-round picks they sent to Detroit are going to be late in the first round. The Rams have a top-notch defense, and Matthew Stafford will help their offense. It'll be surprising if this trade nets the Lions a top 15 pick. With all that in mind, I'd rather just hang on to Dak and use my draft capital to improve my defense.

Nick: At first I thought about it and would've definitely considered it. Two first-round picks is intriguing enough. But there's a reason the Lions got those picks, and that's because they're also stuck with his guaranteed salaries for two years. The Rams might not have any interest in keeping Goff, but he's more than just a throw-away piece to the deal. The Lions are going to have to play with him for at least two years. Then again, when Stafford has been your franchise quarterback for nearly a decade, I guess they've gotten used to it. For the Cowboys, I'd rather just sign Dak then try to trade for someone else.

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