Eagles

What the Dak Prescott drama means for the Eagles

What the Dak Prescott drama means for the Eagles

The Cowboys just can't help themselves.

They bungle everything.

It’s comical, really. 

The Cowboys had the entire offseason to work out a long-term deal with their franchise quarterback. They reportedly didn’t make a single offer from late March until a few hours before Wednesday’s deadline and then they scrambled in the closing minutes to try to work something out before running out of time.

The NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported just after the 4 p.m. EST deadline for tagged players to get long-term deals that the Cowboys’ last-minute offer — after months of inactivity — included $70 million over the first two years of the deal, with $50 million guaranteed. Slater reported that Dak “wanted to get the deal done but it was just too late.”

Oops.

Either you want the guy or you don’t.

Seems like the Cowboys had no idea what they wanted. Had no idea whether they wanted to commit long-term to Prescott or not.

Now the Cowboys are stuck in a position where Prescott is going to play on a $31 million one-year tag, which isn’t ideal for a couple reasons. 

That $31 million counts entirely against this year’s salary cap, because one-year deals don’t pro-rate . When you sign a player to a long-term deal, you spread the signing bonus up to five years, and you control what years have the biggest cap hits. 

Also, it means the Cowboys are going to have to revisit this again in a year. Prescott has all the leverage because the tag is expected to go up to about $38 million next year and after that the Cowboys can’t tag him anymore. 

On one level, it means the Cowboys are in danger of losing Prescott in a year or being forced to pay him $69 million over the next two years without anything pro-rating and then losing him. 

This isn’t the time to be thinking about finding a quarterback, not with the college football season being curtailed and in jeopardy of being cancelled. If Dak leaves in a year, the Cowboys will either have to scrounge up a free agent or draft a quarterback who may not have played a snap in almost two years.

But really the big picture is what really makes the Cowboys look bad here.

The most important thing for any football team is finding a young, elite franchise quarterback, and the next-most important thing is keeping him.

Because they’re really hard to find.

You would think a team that’s used Brandon Weeden, Anthony Wright, Chad Hutchinson, Kellen Moore, Stephen McGee, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter and Ryan freaking Leaf as starting QBs over the last 20 years might realize it’s kind of an pretty important position

Say what you want about Prescott, he’s 40-24 as the Cowboys’ QB with the 7th-highest passer rating in NFL history, and the Cowboys really can’t afford him.

Compare all this to the Eagles, who seamlessly got Carson Wentz signed to a long-term deal a year ago that’s fair to both sides with no hard feelings, no stress, no ill will on either side.

Kind of gives you a good idea why the Cowboys have won three playoff games since 1997.

All of this is good news for the Eagles, since their only real competition in the NFC East now faces a year of distraction and a year of unknown involving its quarterback. 

And that’s the last thing any team needs.

The Cowboys mishandled one of the most critical decisions facing any football team.

Bad look for the Cowboys. Bad day for the Cowboys.

Good day for the Eagles.

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What George Kittle’s landmark contract means for Zach Ertz and Eagles

What George Kittle’s landmark contract means for Zach Ertz and Eagles

George Kittle didn’t just reset the tight end market on Thursday. He obliterated it. 

And you can bet Zach Ertz is taking note. 

The 49ers and Kittle just agreed to a groundbreaking contract for the All-Pro tight end that comes with an average of $15 million per season. 

Ertz, 29, is still under contract through the 2021 season but is also in line for a contract extension of his own. And while you might not think he deserves as much money as Kittle or even Travis Kelce (who is also in line for an extension), Ertz might think so. 

Check out what Ertz said about the comparisons to Kittle and Kelce last week: 

I do consider myself in that upper echelon of guys, in that same tier with all those guys,” Ertz said last Friday. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think a lot of guys in this building feel the same way about me. I’m never in the business of comparing people. I think all three of us are at the top of our games, and I think we’re all perfect in the offense that we play in, honestly. I think we all have unique skill sets. We’re all very different, with some similarities. But overall I don’t think my game is any less than any of their games.

We’ll eventually find out if the front office agrees with him. Because the Eagles are going to face a really critical decision soon regarding Ertz. And the existence of Dallas Goedert only adds more layers to this situation. 

Ertz, 29, signed an extension in 2016 that gave him an average per year of $8.5 million. While he might not get to the $15 APY that Kittle just got, he’s going to aim to be in that area. That’s the natural progression of contracts in the NFL. My guess is he gets in the $11-13 million per season range, which is still a really big investment on a player who will likely be over 30 when that deal happens. 

For a long time, the market for tight ends has been really stagnant. The Jimmy Graham $10 million APY had been the benchmark until Austin Hooper passed that with a $10.5 APY this offseason. Now, Kittle has demolished that. 

It’s also worth noting that NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported earlier this offseason that Ertz actually turned down a deal during the 2019 season that was more lucrative than the deal Hooper signed. That should give you an idea of Ertz’s mindset. (But it was the right decision; let Kittle or Kelce reset the market.) 

There’s no questioning what Ertz has meant to the Eagles offense. He’s been their leading receiver in each of the last four seasons and this is the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl! He’s in the middle of an absolutely tremendous career. 

Ertz last week emphasized his desire to play for the Eagles for his entire career. But it’s never that simple. 

Remember, Goedert is still just 25, he has two more years left on his rookie contract and is already a top 10 tight end in the NFL. And while Ertz has put up incredible — like Hall of Fame — receiving numbers, Goedert is definitely a more well-rounded player. Heck, ProFootballFocus actually ranked Goedert ahead of Ertz for the 2020 season.

The one thing that seems clear is that it’s going to be really hard to keep both talented tight ends long-term. 

If the Eagles want to keep Ertz, they’re going to have to give him a huge contract. This Kittle deal just created some framework and a potential obstacle. 

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Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Doug Pederson hints at big role for Greg Ward Jr. with Eagles this season  

Greg Ward Jr. became a great story for the Eagles last season, when he began the year on the practice squad and ended up being their best receiver down the stretch. 

But is he more than a good story? 

Doug Pederson seems to think so. 

The one thing now as he goes into this season, he's in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said on a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday. “It's just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson (Wentz) have a really good feel for one another.

“I think for him now it's just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.

In one year’s time, Ward has gone from practice squad player to being a leader in a wide receiver room that includes three draft picks, an undrafted rookie and a second-year draft pick. 

Ward, 25, is technically in Year 4 of his NFL career but he didn’t get a chance to play until the 2019 season and even then he didn’t play until November. 

Ward finished last season with 28 catches for 254 yards and a game-winning touchdown in a huge contest against Washington. 

Maybe Ward will never become a star player in the NFL, but he’s sure-handed, dependable and earned the trust of his quarterback and coaching staff last season. 

If you look at the Eagles’ group of receivers, Ward is probably the top candidate to win the slot job. DeSean Jackson is going to be the starting Z receiver and at the X the Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Rookie 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor is learning both outside spots. 

Eventually, could Reagor play in the slot? Absolutely. In fact, I’d love to see him in there because he’d bring an explosiveness to the position that Ward probably can’t offer. 

But Ward is going to play a lot in 2020. He’s going to have a chance to become more than a great story. 

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