The Dallas Cowboys failed to reach a long-term agreement with quarterback Dak Prescott this offseason, meaning he will play under the franchise tag. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, this is not positive news for their playoff hopes historically speaking, but possibly Prescott can defy the odds with the talent he has around him.
In NFL history, Drew Brees in 2005 and Kirk Cousins in 2016-17 were the only two quarterbacks to play under the franchise tag. In those seasons playing under the tag, Brees and Cousins each missed the playoffs. Not only did they miss the playoffs, but also they saw a decease in wins, completion percentage, and passer rating. The Cowboys missed the playoffs last season, but they have the talent on the offensive side of the ball to become Super Bowl contenders.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys had the fourth best offensive line last season. They lost center Travis Fredrick to retirement, but Joe Looney is more than capable of filling in as he did in 2018 when Fredrick missed the season due to an autoimmune disease (Guillain-Barré syndrome). Also, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup return, who are of one of six duos on the same team that had at least 1,000 yards receiving in the NFL. They added receiver CeeDee Lamb after being selected in the first-round of the 2020 NFL Draft to go along with their already talented receiver room. Last but not least, they have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott who ran for 1,357 and 12 touchdowns.
Prescott had a career-high in passing yards (4,902), touchdowns (30), and completions (596). He helped lead the Cowboys to the number one offense in the NFL after averaging 431.5 yards per game. A big part of the reason why Prescott and the Cowboys were so successful on offense last season was his ability to throw in between 10 and 20 yards.
According to Next Gen Stats, Prescott in 2018 was below the league average in passer rating throwing to the left and middle in between 10 and 20 yards and was just slightly above the league average in passer rating throwing to the right. Throwing to the left, Prescott had a passer rating of 62.1 (league average was 81.4). Throwing in the middle of the field he had a passer rating of 71.1 (league average was 92.9). And throwing from the right, Prescott had a rating of 82.8 (league average was 82.1).
In 2019, Prescott improved tremendously throwing in all three areas in between 10 to 20 yards. Throwing to his left, Prescott had a passer rating of 122.2 (league average was 82.4). In the middle he had a passer rating of 133.1 (league average was 91.3). And throwing to the right, Prescott had a passer rating of 117.2 (league average was 78.6).
With another year of experience with Cooper and Gallup, the addition of Lamb, and Mike McCarthy as the new head coach, Prescott has all the tools and weapons he needs to be the first quarterback to make the playoffs while playing under the franchise tag. And with the 10-year, 503 million dollar contract Patrick Mahomes signed this offseason, Prescott has a chance to earn more money next offseason if he is able to reach a long-term deal if he can focus on the upcoming season and not his next contract.