Raiders could make sense for projected $180 million QB

The Las Vegas Raiders still have a need at quarterback and could throw a big contract at a star next year.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. / Michael Owens/GettyImages

With the news Trevor Lawrence just got a contract that's paying him $55 million a year, the price for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is likely to only go up. Even before Lawrence signed a deal, Spotrac projected Prescott to get a three-year, $180 million contract that would make him the first player to make $60 million a year.

Prescott has cemented himself as a top-10 quarterback and led the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns last season. However, the Cowboys had yet another early playoff exit, so they may have reached their ceiling with the quarterback. Paying him $60 million a year could make it hard to afford the supporting pieces necessary to win playoff games.

Prescott can become a free agent after the season, and the Cowboys can't franchise-tag him. If Dallas isn't willing to meet his asking price, some other team surely will be. The Las Vegas Raiders could be that team. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report recently listed the Raiders among the teams that should pursue Prescott, and the idea has some merit.

Why Dak Prescott to the Raiders makes sense

The Raiders missed their chance to draft a young quarterback of the future this year. They decided to stick with Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew for the 2024 season, but neither brings much long-term upside. The AFC is loaded with great quarterback talent right now, and the Raiders won't go far without a top player at the position.

Prescott has had his playoff woes but has never had a losing record during a season in which he's made more than five starts. The Raiders have had a winning record just twice since 2002. For a team like the Cowboys, playoff success is all that matters while just getting to playoffs consistently would be a big deal for Las Vegas.

Being the Raiders quarterback also carries a lot less pressure. The spotlight on the Cowboys is massive and perhaps Prescott gets too tight in big games. Many in the media are downplaying the Raiders, but the roster is pretty stacked outside of quarterback.

The team could have an elite defense this season and has dangerous weapons on offense like Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Brock Bowers and Michael Mayer. This roster with Prescott at quarterback would be a playoff mainstay. Once a team gets to the playoffs, anything can happen. That'd be worth a lot to a Raiders squad that's still trying to build a fan base in Las Vegas.

Why the Raiders might not want to sign Dak Prescott

The Raiders adding Prescott would come with many benefits, but also some major concerns that can't be ignored. A figure like $60 million a year is an astronomical amount of money to pay a quarterback unless that quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. The Raiders would have to cut costs elsewhere. That could mean losing Davante Adams or not being able to extend players like Nate Hobbs, Malcolm Koonce or Jack Jones.

Also, the lack of playoff success is concerning. He's 2-5 in the playoffs as a starter and has thrown 14 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Those numbers don't warrant a $60 million a year contract. Raiders owner Mark Davis might be happy for the time being if his team is just consistently winning, but it's hard to see a future in which Prescott is able to outduel Mahomes or Josh Allen in the playoffs.

Any team with Prescott as its starting quarterback has a ceiling. While that ceiling is higher than what the Raiders have now, it may not be high enough to reach the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.

2024 season will determine whether Raiders should be aggressive in QB market

Whether Prescott makes sense for the Raiders comes down to how this season looks. If the defense is awesome and the team wins nine or 10 games but the offense struggles with poor quarterback play, Prescott would sound much more appealing.

If the Raiders can only muster six or fewer wins, they likely have more problems than just quarterback. In that scenario, they should really be focusing on the future and trying to find a quarterback in the draft. Head coach Antonio Pierce doesn't sound like he's particularly patient when it comes to building a winning team.

It's easy to see him being into the idea of adding a proven quarterback like Prescott. On the other hand, general manager Tom Telesco has seen how valuable a homegrown quarterback is. The Raiders will have some big decisions next offseason but can't really start thinking too hard about them until they see how the 2024 season goes.