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The Dak Prescott 16

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I posted this in the Cowboys forum. Let's see what you guys think of it:

Ever seen that documentary, the Brady 6? The 6 quarterbacks taken in the 2000 draft prior to Tom Brady being selected? Hasn't Dak earned the right to get his own version by now, with everything he's done for the Star? Well hold onto your butts, we're about to cherry pick the hell out of some analytics. Welcome to...


What is this? This is not an opinion piece, nor is it any kind of proof of concept. Instead, I'm going to list a series of statistical facts. You can then critique them however you please. If you feel they only prove that Dak is the one to lead Dallas to the promise land, then congratulations, I'm happy to help. If you feel it's somehow misleading, trollish, or even outright derogatory to your QB... despite being factual correct, then scream at the top of your lungs about how much it bothers you. Any reaction you want, let the board know. But even with your preconceived notions that you're already developing about what this might be, I'm going to repeatedly stress this isn't necessarily my perception of said quarterback, simply many possible outcomes in the multiverse of coincidental scenarios that surround these men.

Firstly, the ground rules. I'm about to list a group of quarterbacks that share very specific, and extremely important connections with Dak Prescott. No, they didn't all go 12-4 as rookies. No, a lot of them haven't scored 20 passing and 5 rushing touchdowns in each of their first 3 seasons (which is still only 25 total touchdowns a year. Andy Dalton usually can muster more than that.. but apparently I'm somehow missing the historic shockwaves that comes along with it. That'll be the next thread maybe). But I have painstakingly constructed a list of exactly 16 men who fit 3 major criteria special to Dak Prescott's current contractual circumstance. Not 1, not a couple, or even as many as 5. SIXTEEN NFL Quarterbacks.

What is it exactly that makes the Dak Prescott situation so special? Is it the fact that he's won a lot? Sure. But more importantly, it's because he's won a lot while not even being taken on day 1, or even day 2 of the NFL draft. Right out of the gate, 13 wins. 9 wins. 10 wins and a playoff W. But, but... he was not taken in the top 32 picks. What does that mean? It means the draft pundits did not think he had that u
tmost potential to be elite. He proved he could start right away, absolutely. But still today, people question his ceiling. He was a 4th rounder for a reason. Do they miss on these guy sometimes? Of course. Russell Wilson. Tom Brady. Kurt Warner. Drafted (or undrafted) beyond the glorified top 32 selections, but Super Bowl champions all of them. 

But the 16, they are different from that list. So is Dak. What is it those 3 did that Dak has not? They won Super Bowls on their rookie deals. When they were signed to monster contracts, they had already earned it 10 fold. It wasn't about potential or what they could do for the franchise, it was about what they had already done. What they were trying to repeat. 

Dak is expected to bring Dallas to the promise land. Why sign him longterm for any other reason? But he has not done that just yet. In fact, Dak has not yet made a conference championship game. That's the real kicker. Let's break that curse right now. 1995, was it? Dak should be the guy to get that done. Why not? He has the stats, the team, the pedigree. There's another thing we can use to match Dak to historical outliers. 16 Quarterbacks. No first round picks in the bunch, none had made a conference championship on their rookie deals. So what's left?

Oh yeah! The contract. Dak is allegedly about to make anywhere from 26-32M$ annually. The Jones want it, he wants it, it's going to happen. Derek Carr currently makes 25 million annually, and that is the 8th highest AAV for a QB's contract at the moment. Heck it was 1st when he signed it. So Dak will at least beat that. And there's our final connecting thread. The QB contract situation has gotten a little bonkers lately, where really anyone can be the highest paid QB nowadays, so let's expand the search to top half money... a top 16 annually paid QB in the nfl. (There's a slight quirk there about high first round picks being top 16 in QB salary due to the crazy wage scale back then, so we're going by second contracts and beyond. The stuff they actually earned playing in the NFL). Top 16 money, not a first round pick, had not yet led the team to a conference championship game. 16 Quarterbacks qualified under these terms since 2000. 

Why 2000? A few reasons. Firstly, the salary cap began in 1994, and that's a big part of the discussion. What Dak earns will directly inhibit the team's ability to surround him with talent. He will need to compensate the difference between pre-contract Dallas and post-contract Dallas with a jump in his own play. 27m$ could be 3 pro bowl D-lineman. Could be an All-Pro guard and a 1400 yard WR. Could be the difference between having Zeke and Byron... and sending them off for picks because you're cash strapped. So the post-contract jump needs to be identifiable. Secondly, when the salary cap was induced, it wasn't as concrete a super-team-prevention tool as it is today. A lot of contracts didn't line up correctly to how everything is structured now. Guys were woefully underpaid, guys had weird clauses and Bonilla-like proration. After a few years of implementation things settles down. Case in point: The most stacked team at the time the salary cap came out (maybe the most stacked team ever) was the 1994 Dallas Cowboys. They then proceeded to sign Deion Sanders to a gargantuan deal like it was no big deal. That's not how it was supposed to work. Time in salary cap incarceration fixed that hiccup. Also, draft analytics have jumped by leaps and bounds since the 80's and 90's. Primarily because of... the internet! There are more draft critics than any time in history. It's so crazy, the draft critics have their own draft critic critics. Websites dedicated to prospect analysis have websites dedicated to criticizing each of their draft analysis methods. Hell, Mike Florio has made a career off of attacking NFL Analysts. So yeah, maybe you can come up with some guy who went in the 22nd round in 1975 out of Eastern Oregon Apostolic Tech, and nobody took him early because 3/4 team had never even heard of him. But that's exactly why we're not going that far back. Plus
 2000 is just a nice round number. It's also the Brady 6 year, so it all comes in a nice full circle there.

So yeah, the list. 16 guys, chronological order. 1) Not top 32 picks, 2) No Championship game appearances before getting the moula, 3) Handsomely paid as top 16 QB's anyway:

1. Elvis Grbac, Ravens 2001: 
5 years, 30m$, 6m$ annually (9th highest)
Round 8, pick 219 (49ers 1993)

2. Jay Fiedler, Dolphins 2002:
5 years, 24.5m$, 4.9m$ annually (15th)
Undrafted (Eagles 1994)

3. Trent Green, Chiefs 2003:
7 years, 50m$, 7.1m$ annually (7th)
Round 8, pick 222 (Redskins 1993)

4. Marc Bulger, Rams 2007:
6 years, 65m$, 10.8m$ annually (4th)
Round 6, pick 168 (Rams 2000)

5. Tony Romo, Cowboys 2007:
6 years, 67.5m$, 11.25m$ annually (3rd)
Undrafted (Dallas 2003)

6. David Garrard, Jaguars 2008:
7 years, 69m$, 9.9m$ annually (12th)
Round 4, pick 108 (Jaguars 2002)

7. Matt Cassel, Chiefs 2009:
6 years, 62.7m$, 10.5m$ annually (14th)
Round 7, pick 230 (Patriots 2005)

8. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals 2011:
5 years, 63m$, 10.4m$ annually (14th)
Round 2, pick 36 (Philadelphia 2007)

9. Matt Flynn, Seahawks 2012:
3 years, 26m$, 9.7m$ annually (16th)
Round 7, pick 209 (Packers 2008)

10. Matt Shaub, Texans 2012:
4 years, 62m$, 15.5m$ annually (5th) 
Round 3, pick 90 (Falcons 2004)

11. Andy Dalton, Bengals 2014:
6 years, 96m$, 16m$ annually (approx. 6th)
Round 2, pick 35 (Bengals 2011)

12. Brock Osweiler, Texans 2016:
4 years, 72m$, 18m$ annually (top 😎
Round 2, pick 57 (Broncos 2012)

13. Derek Carr, Raiders 2017:
5 years, 125m$, 25m$ annually (1st)
Round 2, pick 36 (Raiders 2014)

14. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers 2018:
5 years, 137.5m$, 27.5m$ annually (1st)
Round 2, pick 62 (Patriots 2014)

15. Case Keenum, Broncos 2018:
2 years, 36m$, 18m$ annually (top 15)
Undrafted (Houston 2012)

16. Kirk Cousins, Vikings 2018:
3 years, 84m$, 28m$ annually (1st)

Round 4, pick 102 (Redskins 2012)

There you go. Some random information that relates to Dak Prescott. Fun, right? But what really was the point? This is everyone since 2000. Everyone who signed for big money. Everyone not a top 32 pick, everyone who didn't have a conference championship appearance but got the money anyway. That's all of them. 'Some solid QBs on this list,' you're probably thinking. Some stinkers as well, sure, but there are a few quality guys in there. But what can we really deduce from this exercise? Hmm... let's go back to that point earlier about first rounders having elite potential. That ceiling that goes on forever. The pundits all saw it. Everyone predicted the pretty boys would be selected at the top, and they were. They had 'it'. They guys apparently didn't, but they struck it rich regardless. But how many of these guys really break that down-the-road potential stigma? How many of these guys overcame the adversity of not going deep in the playoffs early on to then later propel their team?


Not one single QB since 2000 that was A) drafted outside of that golden top 32 'elite potential' group, B) had never Conference Championship game prior to getting the goods, and C) Made top 16 money anyway ended up leading a team to a single conference championship game after signing the deal. Not a single one of them. The potential point was 100% right in that analytic, live-and-die-by-facts assessment. This isn't one other guy who fits the bill, or a couple guys, or even 5 guys. This is ALL SIXTEEN QBs since 2000. None panned out the way fans wanted them to. Sure, KC loved Trent Green. And yeah, Carr has some real talent. But nobody is paying big money for regular season wins.

Two ways to take this. 

Firstly, team success being put on the QBs shoulders is wholly unfair, and in some ways kind of stupid. Give a majority of QBs in the league today the 2000 Ravens defense, and they probably have hardware. So was this all pointless? Not exactly. It's not that some of these guys just had poor luck with the teams they signed with, it's that EVERY SINGLE ONE did. It's because of the money cash-strapping that team, when the blossoming QB-in-his-prime potential just doesn't show up. Every time. Every single time they've failed. But Dak isn't any of these Quarterbacks. He's his own unique snowflake, and so anything that occurred previously doesn't even apply to him. Sure, that's fair. It's like the definition of crazy where doing the same thing over and over again doesn't create different outcomes. Except people don't use that properly because no two scenarios are truly the same. Context, context, context. Dak is unique in his own way.

The other way to look at it is Kirk Cousins. Imagine if Washington really had resigned him to crazy money, and you had the information above available. A lot of people here would probably have used this to great effect to show why Kirk would have been a mistake.

Ladies and Gentleman, like it or not, discredit it or neglect it, these are the QBs closest to Dak's currently contract, draft value, and playoff success since the year 2000. I give you, The Dak Prescott 16.

(3 players people will bring up who did not qualify. Firstly, Drew Brees. He was drafted 32nd literally the year before the league moved to 32 teams, technically making him a second rounder. So that's the reason I worded it the way I did with the whole 'top 32' thing. I could have just gone 'first rounder' the whole way through, but then people would spend the whole comments section splitting hairs. Bottom line is that first pick of the second round is worlds different than a day 3 pick in Prescott. Especially when Wilson went in the third round due to height concerns, imagine how much potential they saw in Drew had he been of adequate size. So it was never about his elite possibility. Secondly is Nick Foles. I didn't add him because he was given a petty contract by St. Louis (13.5m a year), but more importantly flamed out while on his big(ish) second contract. Then became a backup to another team. Then became a backup to yet another team and only then pulled through. So when qualifying with Dak, unless the plan is to sign him, then immediately cut Dak (Foles wasn't even given a year before he was benched) and finally root for him to win with the Bengals or the Bills, then I'd say he's probably not a great example. The third is Brad Johnson, similar situation where his big Washington contract didn't work out, then he signed modestly with Tampa and ended up winning. For those two nothing doing on the big deal this is all about.)

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I realized later I missed that Case Keenum went to the NFCCG with Minnesota before he struck it rich with Denver. But we can replace him with Foles, as Foles did not bring success to The team that signed him big, St. Louis, and only broke through when he became a journeyman. The big deal is the part that’s relevant to Dak.

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3 hours ago, Hefty Smurf said:

You worked very hard on this. I just can't for the life of me figure out why.

I have single handedly discovered Dak's Brotherhood.

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4 hours ago, greenskeeper said:

Didn’t read it, but my spidey sense leads me to believe that dallass sucks!

I concur. 

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6 hours ago, dawkins4prez said:

What kind of psycho uses purple highlight for an entire wall of text?

The Dallas Cowboys message board. It’s all in blue, won’t let me remove it when I copy-pasted.

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17 minutes ago, Havenless said:

The Dallas Cowboys message board. It’s all in blue, won’t let me remove it when I copy-pasted.

There's a "paste as plain text" option when you copy text into a post. However, you have to scroll to the bottom of the post, so it's very easy to miss. I wish Invision would improve it.


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6 hours ago, ShakeThatMonkey said:

There's a "paste as plain text" option when you copy text into a post. However, you have to scroll to the bottom of the post, so it's very easy to miss. I wish Invision would improve it.


I’ve tried it on a few things I’ve copy pasted from them. but since it’s not the text but the background, it has no effect. The text itself IS plain, rich text.

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20 hours ago, Havenless said:

I’ve tried it on a few things I’ve copy pasted from them. but since it’s not the text but the background, it has no effect. The text itself IS plain, rich text.

You couldnt have pasted it in Notepad and then copy and paste that?

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