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Dak Prescott Could he land with Jets or Giants in 2021

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Cowboys’ Dak Prescott ankle surgery: Could he land with Jets or Giants in 2021, as Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones replacement?

Updated 8:36 AM; Today 8:30 AM 

Jerry and Stephen Jones are saying all the right, diplomatic things in the wake of Dak Prescott’s brutal ankle injury Sunday.

But the reality remains: Prescott might have just played his final game for the Cowboys.

So could he end up with the Giants or Jets next season? It’s possible, for several reasons.

First and foremost, Prescott’s injury came at a horrible time for him. He was playing this season on a one-year franchise tag contract worth $31.409 million.

He’ll still get that money. But will he get the long-term, lucrative contract he wants next offseason? Or will he have to settle for less, perhaps on a shorter deal, perhaps with a new team? Those questions depend, of course, on how his ankle heals in the coming months.

Cowboys ownership insists that Prescott remains the future in Dallas. (And of course the Joneses are going to say that right now.) They can still lock Prescott in with a long-term contract, or with another franchise tag (worth $37.69 million) in 2021. Either way, it’s a major investment for a quarterback coming off a serious injury.

And the only way Jones can definitely lock in Prescott for 2021 is with the tag. Prescott can decline a longer-term contract offer if he doesn’t like it.

The other option — let Prescott hit free agency, to gauge his value.

If that happens, Prescott will have some suitors, given his track record and age (28 at the start of next season) — provided his rehab goes as planned by March.

That’s where the Jets and/or Giants might come in.

It’s still unclear just how many teams will be seeking a quarterback next offseason. The Colts, Bears, and Washington probably will be. These teams might be, too: Jets, Giants, Lions, 49ers, Broncos, Jaguars, Steelers, Raiders, and Saints.

Some of those teams would rather draft a quarterback than sign a veteran. Because ideally, in the NFL, you draft and develop and win with a quarterback on a relatively affordable rookie deal. But that doesn’t always work out as planned. Just ask the Jets and Giants.

The Jets could give up on Sam Darnold after 2020, his third season. General manager Joe Douglas didn’t draft him, and Douglas next offseason would need to commit to a fully guaranteed (and expensive) fifth-year option for 2022.

If the Jets are bad enough, they’ll either get the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft or be in position to trade up to that spot, since Douglas has the ammo to do it. So yes, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence would — and should — definitely be an option.

But if the Jets scratch out a few wins in 2020, and Douglas doesn’t want to trade up, maybe he still ditches Darnold and goes after Prescott. Douglas is currently projected to have $71 million in salary cap space next offseason, third-most in the NFL. Douglas will have plenty of other roster needs to address. Yet if you don’t have a legit quarterback, you can’t win.

Prescott landing with the Giants seems far less likely. This is just Year 2 for quarterback Daniel Jones. The Giants probably will fire the GM who drafted him, Dave Gettleman, but the new guy might not even get clearance from ownership to pick or sign a quarterback — even if he wants to. Quitting on the No. 6 overall pick after just two seasons is a tough move to make.

There’s also this: The Giants currently are projected to have just $22.5 million in cap space — about $1 million more than the Cowboys.

A lot of questions linger for Prescott, as his rehab begins. How quickly can he return to form? Will he chafe at what the Cowboys offer him next offseason? What might demand — and contract value — look like, if he indeed hits free agency?

Plenty is yet to be determined for the Jets and Giants, too. Do Darnold and Jones have a future here? How high will the Jets and Giants pick in 2021? (The Giants are currently first in the draft order, the Jets third.) What do they think of Lawrence, if they’re even in position to draft him? And if Lawrence doesn’t happen, as a replacement, would they want to pay Prescott?

Those are all huge questions for Douglas and Gettleman’s likely replacement to sort through. But given the uncertainty still surrounding Darnold and Jones, they’re questions that won’t fade any time soon — especially with Prescott facing a suddenly clouded future.

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Dak couldn’t win with a pretty stacked team in Dallas. Think he’s going to do much in the second year of a rebuild? Not likely.  If moving on from darnold is the thing then the jets would do themselves a favor by re-signing Flacco and drafting Lawrence.  Let Lawrence rid the bench for a half season or so.

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