Whether you think Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is an overachiever about to crash back to Earth or a true superstar just waiting to break out, it’s almost impossible to argue that he hasn’t been one of the better values in football.
Even if you consider him a lower-tier starter, because of the NFL’s rookie contract scaling and his being a fourth-round pick, Prescott has made a pittance compared with some of his peers.
That’s not to say Prescott’s $680,000 salary in 2018 is small potatoes, especially for the overwhelming majority of Americans, but it still pales in comparison with what some of his peers — such as the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins and the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford — are making.
It’s worth noting that Prescott made the playoffs this year while Cousins (who made $28 million, according to Spotrac) and Stafford ($27 million) both missed out on the postseason with their respective teams.
But the fact that Prescott made so little compared with other quarterbacks is a big reason Dallas made the playoffs. With their starting quarterback counting so little against their cap space, the Cowboys were able to spend big bucks to surround Prescott with talent.
While the best quarterbacks typically demand the highest salaries in football, it’s a curious conundrum given that, as MarketWatch notes, the six highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL all missed the postseason last year.
It’s really simple economics. The more you spend on a single position, the less you have to spend elsewhere. Since it’s the most important position in football, quarterbacks get paid the most. It creates a Catch-22 where teams have to shell out the most money for a quarterback but then lack resources to build the best possible team around him.
That is, except for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The six-time Super Bowl champion historically has signed for deals far less than his actual worth, which in turn has allowed the Patriots to field consistently competitive teams.
It might not be the only reason Brady has won more Super Bowls than anyone else in history, but there seems to be a strong correlation between Brady’s discounted deals and the Patriots’ success.
Which brings us back to Prescott, who is due for a mammoth contract extension as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.
Few fan bases are hungrier for a Super Bowl win than Cowboys fans. After a run of success in the 1990s, the team has collectively come up short since the trio of Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman won their last Super Bowl title together.
With Prescott perhaps representing the franchise’s best hope of winning a Super Bowl ring since then, the question naturally arose of whether Prescott would take a Brady-esque discount to help the Cowboys field the most talented team possible.
His response? Absolutely not.
That’s not a surprise given Prescott’s relatively paltry rookie contract.
“I think the team knows how to pay what’s deserved, and pay those other people at the same time what’s deserved without being frugal,” Prescott told USA Today.
But he gave a great explanation for why he won’t follow in Brady’s footsteps.
“Nobody’s wife makes as much money as his wife does either,” Prescott said. “When Tom Brady isn’t the breadwinner in the home, then that’s a great problem to have. So in that case, he can do that. He can do his contract however you want to do it.”
According to a report by Elite Daily from early 2018, Brady’s net worth is approximately $180 million. The net worth of his wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, is twice that at $360 million.
Given those numbers, it’s pretty clear why Brady is so comfortable taking a pay cut.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to make as much money as possible. That’s capitalism, which is an inherently American tenet. It also should be noted that this isn’t to make Brady seem like a peerless saint because he’s accepting less money than he’s worth. He is still making millions.
For Prescott, it’ll be a time for him to reflect on his future. Making money and winning championships are not mutually exclusive. But if Prescott demands the maximum amount of money possible, winning championships will become that much harder for him.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.