According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts have already been named as a speculative suitor for Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott, who is set to become a free agent after suffering a gruesome season-ending ankle injury on Sunday:
One NFC exec prioritizes two above all others: the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears.
The Colts are built to win now with a stout offensive line and a good defense. Rivers, who signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Colts in March, has five interceptions in his first five games with Indianapolis, and 25 picks in his last 21 games overall. His lack of mobility could be an issue over 16 games. Rivers and backup Jacoby Brissett ($21.375 million cap hit) both come off the Colts’ books in 2021, freeing up nearly $50 million in cap space.
“[Prescott] could be even better in an offense where he’s not throwing the ball 58 times a game,” said the NFC exec, referring to Prescott’s 58 passing attempts in a Week 4 loss to Cleveland, which led by 27 points in the third quarter. “He could really flourish there because of the balance they have.”
First, let me say that Prescott’s injury was awful to see—especially playing in a contract year, and we here at Stampede Blue sincerely wish him a speedy and full recovery.
Second, I’d still be surprised if Prescott, who was playing under the exclusive franchise tag this season, actually leaves Dallas—as team owner Jerry Jones’ squad currently lacks an internal long-term successor behind him and aren’t hurting on cash (but might have to get a little creative in gaining extra salary cap space to re-sign him to a mega-deal).
The former 2016 4th round pick of the Dallas Cowboys has made all 69 starts since entering the league as a rookie. He’s developed into a 2x Pro Bowler and is a star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys—showing a strong arm, exceptional mobility, and tremendous leadership skills.
During 2019, he completed 388 of 596 passes last season (65.1%) for 4,902 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a passer rating of 99.7 in all 16 starts.
The 6’2”, 235 pound quarterback also had 52 carries for 277 rushing yards (5.3 ypc. avg.) and 3 rushing touchdowns.
In 5 starts this season, Prescott had completed 151 of 222 passes (68.0%) for 1,856 passing yards, 9 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a passer rating of 99.6 before his season unfortunately ended prematurely in devastating fashion.
Of course, the Colts currently have a veteran stopgap behind center, 38 year old starter Philip Rivers, who if he continues his sluggish play will assuredly be one-and-done in Indianapolis—after his 1-year, $25 million debut deal expires.
Prescott would no doubt be a tremendous upgrade to Rivers, granted at a much more exorbitant cost. While Prescott may not be a cream of the crop quarterback such as Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, or Aaron Rodgers, there’s a strong case to be made that he certainly belongs in the next tier of top NFL quarterbacks.
Turning 28 years old next season, he would give the Colts another long-term answer at the quarterback position again—after former franchise player Andrew Luck shockingly retired ahead of the 2019 season.
Prescott has experience playing in a ground heavy offensive approach, as he’s been handing the ball off to bellcow Ezekiel Elliott behind the Cowboys once dominant offensive line for the past few seasons in Dallas.
However, Prescott can still be a playmaker behind center and is not a glorified game manager, as he has the ability to make critical and big-time throws—as well as extend plays with his legs outside the pocket. He’s a very good NFL quarterback in his own right.
If Prescott ultimately hits free agency, which is a big IF, the Colts will have a projected $66.5M in cap space ahead of the 2021 offseason—and should really give Prescott a blank check and back up the Brink’s because their starting quarterback play could be the one thing preventing an otherwise well-balanced, talented roster from hoisting up that elusive Lombardi Trophy in 2021 and onward.