The Missed Flight & The Failed Trade That Helped Land Dak Prescott In Dallas

FRISCO, Texas – Dak Prescott smiled slyly and completely undersold this story.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said to the mob of reporters assembled at his locker on Wednesday afternoon.

Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, it's hard not to consider "what if" scenarios about how the Cowboys' franchise quarterback wound up in that locker room – especially during the week he'll face the Denver Broncos.

A quick refresher, if you've forgotten: Prescott may never have joined the Cowboys if not for the aggressive bidding tactics of Denver general manager John Elway. During the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, it was Elway who offered up his second and third-round picks to Seattle in order to jump up the draft board and select star quarterback prospect Paxton Lynch – who was coveted by many teams, including the Cowboys.

"We spent some time with him here interviewing him and there was just a lot to like," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett of Lynch. "The potential is overwhelming. I mean he's got a lot of ability."

The Cowboys might have liked Lynch, but the Broncos' asking price was a tad higher than Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was willing to pay. The result was Lynch going to Denver. Jones' reluctance to spend big for a quarterback of the future bothered him later – and he said as much.

"When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time," he said at the time. "And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it. And I probably should have overpaid here."

Needless to say, that hardly seems like the case in September of 2017. Prescott won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and he currently sits at 1-0 in his second season as the Cowboys' starter. Lynch is presently recovering from a shoulder injury that is expected to sideline him roughly five weeks, and Trevor Siemian is Denver's starting quarterback.

That in itself feels like an eerie bit of circumstance, but it took a funnier turn when Prescott revealed his own misadventures with the Broncos organization during his draft process.

As it turns out, Prescott took a visit to Denver during the pre-draft period, when he was based out of Orlando, Fla. It sounds surprising, coming from the typically punctual Prescott, but he missed his flight. He misjudged the traffic on the way to the airport, and he wound up late to his visit.

"I didn't make it to the gate, the door shut and I had to wait. I got there later that night, but I missed the initial dinner," he said. "I still had the visit, but I'm sure the quarterback not making the flight doesn't look too good."

That's a pretty amusing juxtaposition, given the rave reviews that Prescott has drawn – from the Cowboys and from others – for his off-field demeanor. Ultimately, only the Broncos know what their assessment was, and whether the missed flight actually affected it. It doesn't really matter at this point.

For both franchises, all that's going to remain is the "what if" question, and the multitude of scenarios that could have played out had things gone differently.

Consistent to his "day-at-a-time" approach, it wasn't something Garrett was keen to discuss during a game week.

"That's a long conversation. I don't really want to get into that now," he said. "I do know this: when you're in a draft, there's a lot of conversations about a lot of players, at every position, with every pick – moving up, moving back, and all of that."

Fair enough. There might have been luck – or fate – involved, but eventually the Cowboys' conversations led them to Prescott. The rest is history.

Considering everything that's happened since then from his vantage point, it's easy to see why the Cowboys' quarterback would smile.

"I'm in a good spot," he said. 

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