FRISCO, Texas — When Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson signed their new contracts with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, earlier this offseason, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was quick to point out those quarterbacks own Super Bowl rings.
Jones never said it, but the message was clear: The Cowboys will pay quarterback Dak Prescott a ton of money on a long-term deal, but he lacks a championship, so he is not at the tippy-top of the quarterback market.
Now the Cowboys have a comparison to use in contract negotiations with Prescott — the Philadelphia Eagles signed Carson Wentz to a four-year extension worth $128 million, including $107 million guaranteed.
So, it’s fair to wonder, who’s the better quarterback: Prescott or Wentz?
Wentz has had a better season (2017) than Prescott has had, but Prescott has had a better three-year run.
Wentz was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, 133 spots before the Cowboys took Prescott in the fourth round. Both started as rookies, with Prescott earning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award by leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 mark with 23 touchdown passes and four interceptions.
In 2017, Wentz was having an MVP-type season — before he tore his ACL — with 33 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Wentz posted an 11-2 record, but Nick Foles led the Eagles’ push to the Super Bowl LII win.
In 2018, Wentz had a 5-6 record, missing the final three games with a back injury, and he saw Foles once again take Philadelphia to the playoffs.
Prescott has not missed a game in his three-year career. He has a 32-16 record (compared to Wentz’s 23-17 mark). Prescott has 67 touchdown passes, 18 rushing touchdowns and 25 interceptions and has two Pro Bowl appearances. Most important, he has two NFC East titles, two playoff appearances and one playoff victory.
And in evaluating the contractual numbers, it all depends on the perspective.
On the four new years of the deal, Wentz is earning $32 million a year, which makes it a big win for a quarterback who lacks a playoff win. Wilson has the highest average per year at $35 million, followed by Roethlisberger at $34 million and Aaron Rodgers, another Super Bowl-winning quarterback, at $33.5 million.
Viewed through the lens that Wentz is now signed through 2024, the average drops to $25.66 million and if he maxes out on every part of the contract, he can earn $28.33 million. That makes it a fair deal for the team going into the future.
Figuring out where Prescott falls financially would seem to be fairly well-defined by now.
On the new money, Prescott is looking at $30 million or more per year. Since he is set to make $2.02 million in 2019, that could make the average on the length of the deal $26 million to $28 million per year or more.
Prescott acknowledged that his agent, Todd France, has made a counteroffer to the Cowboys’ initial proposal, but declined to say recently where things stand now. He also said a new deal would be for “generational money, life-changing money,” and that he wanted to be a Cowboy forever.
The Eagles put their faith in Wentz with this contract extension, even if he has battled injuries the past two seasons.
The Cowboys will put their faith in Prescott eventually, perhaps during training camp or before the 2019 regular season begins.
The path to a new deal will have some bumps — they always do — but it is now a little more clear for both the Cowboys and Prescott to get to that destination.
Chiefs’ Bieniemy — Not playcaller, but has input
ATLANTA — Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy scoffed at the idea that not being a playcaller cost him an opportunity to become a head coach after he interviewed for four head-coaching vacancies.
At this week’s NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit hosted by the NFL and Black College Football Hall of Fame, Bieniemy said he relished the opportunity to interview with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins. Only one of the eight teams with new head coaches hired a minority, as the Dolphins selected Brian Flores.
“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach (Andy) Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s Coach Reid,” Bieniemy told ESPN. “He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”
As Jason Reid of The Undefeated reported in January, Reid said Bieniemy had been “unbelievable” as coordinator, while MVP Patrick Mahomes called Bieniemy a “special coach” and a guy who has helped him a ton.
“Do I talk to the quarterback? Yes,” Bieniemy said. “(Reid) is reciting what he wants me to particularly tell Pat to call. So if people want to make a big deal about that, so be it. The experience that I’ve gotten, understanding how an offensive system works, the organization, how to prepare it, how to get guys going and moving in one direction for one cause, that’s what this is about.”
Although Bieniemy’s focus remains on his current duties with the Chiefs, it seems likely that he’ll receive a head-coaching opportunity based on his strong reputation. The Fritz Pollard Alliance, which oversees compliance with the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates, backed Bieniemy, 49, throughout the interview process.
“John Wooten and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, I thought they did a hell of a job; they gave me an opportunity,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, Coach Reid has given me an opportunity. And I think my interviewing process went about as good as it could go.
“Also, it gave me the experience moving forward knowing that, ‘You know what, this is my first go-around. Second go-around, if I’m blessed and fortunate to be placed in that situation, I’ll be that much better.’ But as far as a head-coaching position is concerned, right now we’re focused on the season. Obviously, we want to go out and do some things that’s going to help us to continue to have success. Then if somebody wants to give me a chance, I’ll be willing, ready, and waiting for that opportunity.”
Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson, two former black NFL head coaches, both expressed support for Bieniemy.
“In my mind, there’s no question that Eric Bieniemy deserves an opportunity to be head coach in the National Football League,” Lewis said. “I’m a very, very close friend of Andy Reid’s and for the last three years, he’s talked to me about Eric’s ability and attributes and what he has added to their offense. That’s why he elevated him to the coordinator role. Andy has recommended a number of coaches to me over the years, and he’s never been wrong.”
“Yes, Eric Bieniemy does deserve a head-coaching job,” Jackson said. “There’s no question about it. I think he’s one of the brightest, young offensive minds in the NFL. Everyone says who is the next up-and-coming guy, and he’s been that. He’s worthy of that. I mean, watch how the quarterback played in Kansas City. I just know when they talk about offense, they talk about Eric.”
Working on the offensive side of the ball should work in Bieniemy’s favor, with most teams seemingly looking for the next bright offensive mind. Bieniemy is one of two black offensive coordinators, along with Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I’ve been an offensive coach my whole entire life,” Bieniemy said. “People think just because you coach running backs you don’t understand the pass game. Well, when you’ve played the position, and you’re involved in coaching the position, you’ve got to make sure guys understand the entire game plan, meaning you’re very much involved in the pass game. You have to understand protections. You have to understand route concepts. You have to understand how defenses are structured going against you.
“Do we need more [minority] coaches on the offensive side of the ball? Yes. How do we go about doing that? We have to make sure there’s a plan for guys of helping guys get into that quarterback room and into quality-control positions so those guys can add that knowledge and learn how to deal with the quarterbacks, learn the language and speak it.”
Ramsey now avoids dissing QBs — ‘I’m growing’
Asked by ESPN Adam Schefter on his podcast if he wanted to evaluate the quarterbacks he will face in the 2019 season, Ramsey passed and only wanted to talk about Nick Foles, who signed a four-year contract this offseason to become the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback.
“You want to do this again, huh? I’m not going to do this again but, we do play some good quarterbacks this year, of course, but probably the quarterback I’m most excited for is Nick Foles,” Ramsey told Schefter. “I don’t have to play against him, of course. He is my teammate. He is a great teammate, the few interactions we’ve had has been great. Great man, great player as well. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He’s a Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP. So, I hope he comes out here and he plays free and knows he has the support of everybody.”
But Ramsey said he’s grown since last year.
“I’m growing man, it’s Year 4 for me. It’s a different me. A lot of people think they know me, they don’t really know me. But hey, that’s OK,” he said.
Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, has made two Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro once in his first three seasons. He has nine interceptions and 44 pass breakups and hasn’t missed a start.
Judge OKs $24M settlement over Rams’ PSLs
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has approved a settlement calling for the NFL’s Rams to pay up to $24 million to personal seat license holders in St. Louis.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. approved the settlement Monday.
Several St. Louis PSL holders filed a class-action lawsuit after the team moved to Los Angeles in January 2016. Thousands of fans in St. Louis had purchased PSLs that were good for 30 seasons, which was the length of the lease at the domed stadium where the Rams played in St. Louis. Rams owner Stan Kroenke took the team to California after 21 seasons.
The lawsuit calls for PSL holders to get 30 percent of the original purchase price, a refund for the nine unused years of the seat license fee, plus damages.
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