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QB Carousel: Jon Machota, The Athletic Cowboys Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
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February 22, 2023 8:57 pm

QB Carousel: Jon Machota, The Athletic Cowboys Reporter

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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February 22, 2023 8:57 pm

Jon Machota joined zach to discuss if the Cowboys and Dak Prescott will agree to a long-term contract extension this offseason and if Dallas would seriously consider drafting CJ Stroud. 

The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen

Step right up here. Don't be shy. The Super Bowl is over, but the NFL quarterback carousel is just beginning. You could ask yourself a question.

Do I feel lucky? What does the future hold for all 32 NFL teams at the QB position? Now I'm going to give you an opportunity to spin this wheel right here. Let's spin the wheel and find out which teams we hit today. The Dallas Cowboys. Alrighty, how about them Cowboys? We'll talk with John Michauda right now, who covers the Cowboys for the athletic. John, appreciate the time. How are you? I'm doing well.

Thanks for having me on. So when you look at Dak Prescott so far, how do you describe Dak as a quarterback these days? Um, I think he's on, on certain games, uh, certain days. I think he's, you know, top six or seven quarterback in the league and other times, I think he's somewhere probably around, you know, 12 to 15, somewhere in there. Um, he, he has some, I mean, really the last two games that he's played is such a great example of Dak Prescott. You know, the playoff game at Tampa Bay where you're like, man, this is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. And then he has the game against San Francisco, who albeit is one of the best defenses, if not the best defense in the league.

And it leaves you scratching your head with some of the turnover plays and then some of the plays that, you know, probably should have been turnovers that weren't. And so, um, he's, he's good enough to the point where, you know, I know that people want to, you know, the Cowboys are always in the, in, you know, headlines and everyone always wants to talk about Dak or the Cowboys net. I just, I just don't see the guy going anywhere. I think that the Cowboys are going to do things and try and make the offense better around him, but I just don't see them in a position to where they're anywhere near trying to move away from Dak Prescott and find a different quarterback. I know it was for years we were talking about if he was going to get the extension. Now he has two years left on his deal. Would it surprise you this off season then with that being said, if they agreed to a long-term deal?

Not at all. And you know, it's something that needs to be talked about here that, um, I know that Cowboys fans won't necessarily love this, but this is a factor in it. And I will always believe that until I see otherwise that, uh, those years between Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, uh, you know, where the Cowboys didn't have a quarterback though that five, six years of where it was Quincy Carter, Drew Henson, guys like that. Um, yeah, Jerry Jones doesn't want to go back to that, you know, and, and as long as Dak Prescott, your quarterback, you won't go back to that. And now the flip side is that, you know, there's many out there that are probably questioning, well, is he good enough to win a Superbowl?

I believe he is. I think if the right pieces are around Dak Prescott is a quarterback, they can win a Superbowl. He's not going to do it like the way Patrick Mahomes does it. And maybe not the way that a Joe Burrow does it and a few others, but he's good enough to get you a, to a Superbowl. And I don't think that Jerry's willing to, uh, roll the dice and try and go in another direction, unless it was like Dak Prescott, where when he moved on from Tony Romo's because they had Dak on the, on the roster.

So, um, no, it would not surprise me if they gave him a contract extension this off season. With all that being said, what else do you think he needs on the offensive side of the ball to get those better performances that could maybe get the Cowboys a few rounds further in the playoffs? Well, certainly, I mean, you watch the Superbowl and those two teams, I mean, uh, Philadelphia, I thought had the best offensive line in football this year. And I thought one of the biggest keys to the Chiefs winning was their offensive line. Um, so the offensive line can always be better. I think there's a lot of people that think that this is still the same offensive line that Dak had when he came in his rookie year.

And, uh, it's not, I mean, the Cowboys offensive line is still better than most, but it's not where it was, uh, at that time. So of course they could get better there, but I think that if you could just do one move, it would be to give him another playmaker on the outside, you know, Michael Gallup coming back from his knee injury, he wasn't all the way back to what they thought he'd be this year. And then they drafted, uh, Jalen Tolbert in the third round last year, expecting him to give them something and he really didn't give them anything at all. And so they swung and missed after they moved down from Mario Cooper.

They didn't, they didn't fill that hole. So they have to do that this off season. Do you think they regret the Mario Cooper trade? I don't think they regret the, I mean, they've said that Jerry and Steven Jones, they don't regret the Mario Cooper trade, but, uh, it's pretty clear. They have regrets about how they handled replacing him. Uh, they needed to do more. They, they, I think they, they expected Michael Gallup to be the way he was, uh, before he got hurt. And that just didn't happen. When it comes to the future of Tony Pollard, do you expect him to get franchise tag?

Is it going to be used elsewhere? No, I think he'll be a franchise tag. I mean, one, he was their second best playmaker last year behind CD lamb. And this was an offense that desperately needs more playmakers.

So getting rid of him doesn't make any sense to me. One and two, and I just look at that running back franchise tag and it will over $10 million. That seems extremely affordable, uh, for what Tony Pollard brings to this offense.

And also, you know, with Ezekiel Elliott, it's pretty clear when you watch him, you've already seen Ezekiel Elliott's best football. I think Tony Pollard's best football still might be ahead of him. So I frankly, unless you can work out some type of a long-term deal that's somewhat team friendly, I think putting the franchise tag in Tony Pollard is a pretty easy decision.

Yeah. John Machado here with us. It was clear if you watched the Cowboys last year, that Pollard was the better back when it comes to the future though of Zeke, we've heard about a potential restructure of the contract. Do you at least expect him on the roster? Is there a chance that he's elsewhere next year? Oh, there's definitely a chance he's elsewhere.

Um, that's one of the biggest topics that will be going into next week when we, you know, go to the combine. That's such a great opportunity to talk to, you know, agents and then certainly all the Cowboys front office will be there and we'll get a lot more clarity then, you know, Jerry said at the senior bowl that, you know, he still wants Zeke back, but, uh, we'll see. I mean, there's no way that they would bring him back on his current numbers. So I think it would have to be a significant pay cut. And I don't know if he could be willing to take a significant pay cut. I'm sure he'll be willing to take a little bit, but if it's too significant, then yeah, maybe he'll go, he'll be willing to go elsewhere, but no, I, I it's 50 50 at best that he would be back next year. What about Odell Beckham? I know that the, the two, it seemed like they were interested, uh, later in the year and then he just wasn't healthy is the way that I understand it. Uh, what about Odell potentially joining the Cowboys this off season?

Oh, absolutely. And it's that potential will always be there as long as Jerry Jones, I mean, Jerry Jones, as you remember last year or during the season when all that was going on, Jerry Jones was a driving force on that. I mean, he is, he's in love with the Odell Beckham storyline.

I mean, obviously being someone who was in the building when Odell Beckham made that catch, he knows the upside of Odell Beckham, obviously Odell Beckham being a key part of the, you know, Rams getting to the Superbowl and even how he played early in that game before he got hurt. You know, Jerry Jones wants Odell Beckham on the team. What it'll come down to though, is if Odell wants to go to whoever the highest bidder is, it's very highly unlikely that would be the Cowboys. But if he's infatuated with the idea and you get them in the room with Jerry and they're just like, you know, here I can sell them on, Hey, you're the missing piece to put this Cowboys team in the Superbowl for the first time in 27 years. And maybe he's willing to take a little bit less of a deal with them.

It certainly is a possibility. Is the reason I refer to them on air drama showed as the drama Dallas choking Cowboys. Cause it seems like there's a lot of times they care more about the drama than the actual winning on the football field.

I saw that Mike Fisher the other day said that through a source that the Cowboys, he doesn't know how it would happen, but they're intrigued by CJ shroud. Is that just more of the drama part of it? Or is there a little bit more to that? So I don't know if there's more to it. I haven't, I haven't heard that from any, any sources I know, but again, combine next week will be, uh, that'll be an interesting spot there cause I'm, you know, that stuff tends to get out cause you just have so many people in those positions of making those decisions that are available and around on and off the record.

I have not heard that. It would surprise me a little bit. Cause like I said earlier, I just think that they're completely committed to deck, but, but you bring up a good point. I mean, it is the drama.

They love that. Right. If someone says they're interested in them, I just don't see them taking it 26, willing to move up and give up what they'd have to give up and all of that considering where they are as a franchise.

They're not that far away. That that going that direction would seem like you're going for more of a rebuild. So I don't necessarily see that, but it's funny you say that about them because several of us that cover the team, we call them the Kardashians of the NFL.

And I like Mike a lot. So who knows what his source is trying to do there, but could that maybe be a message to DAC? Like the last two years they've ended poorly in the post season. I don't know if they operate this way, but like, are they trying to maybe tell DAC that your, your future is not as secure as what you may think?

It's possible. I just, I, I've never gotten this sense after games before games off season, any time, uh, since DAC's been the quarterback that from, from Jerry, from Steven, I mean, those are the main two people that are making these decisions that they're ready to move off, uh, from him or, or have any doubts about him. I've never gotten that sense from Mike McCarthy. Uh, you know, DAC being the quarterback was a big reason he took that job. I mean, so I, I would be surprised at that.

That's what they're trying to do. Um, what would be more interesting is if they drafted a quarterback, I don't see them doing it in the first or second round, but maybe, maybe in the fourth round, maybe in the fifth round, I do think they'll draft one at some point, but, uh, I think that if they did in the fourth or fifth round, that would maybe send a slight message. I just don't see the Cowboys doing something like, let's say the Packers did in draft Jordan love first round pick. Like I just, I don't see Jerry doing that. It just doesn't, that doesn't seem like something he would do with DAC.

I just still think that he believes DAC's best days are still ahead. You look at this division, the Eagles had an unbelievable year. Uh, the Cowboys had another good regular season disaster in the post season, giants and commanders.

It seems like they're still building. We'll have a better answer after this off season. How far away do you think the Cowboys are from, from maybe winning the NFC East again?

Yeah, I don't think they're very far at all. I mean, uh, there are you in a good spot just because nobody has won the division in back to back years, going back to the early two thousands of those Eagles teams. So it's the only division in football that's like that, you know, every other division it's like within two or three years, you have a team that's won it back to back years. So, uh, I mean, the Eagles are almost, you can almost count them out at this point because I just, I mean, it doesn't matter how good a team is and how much you think they're set up. They have long-term success in this, in this division.

It just, it doesn't happen for some reasons. So no, I think the Cowboys are right there. I mean, I think that Eagles are still a better team, uh, even with some of their losses, you know, on the coaching staff and the losing some players in the route, I think they're the, they're the favorite still. And, but even in the entire NFC, I mean, outside of the 49ers, maybe you had another team in there. I mean, I still think the Cowboys are one of the three or four best teams in the NFC. Um, and, and that's again, why I just don't see them going in a direction where they would try and add a young quarterback like CJ Stroud.

Yeah. And for me, it puts even to your point, even more pressure on Dak because Jalen hurts. Look what he just did this year. Rogers, I think is leaving the NFC and you kind of expect him to get traded. You know, this, this NFC is begging for someone to go dominate it for the next five years or so. And you know, the Cowboys are consistently there.

They just haven't got the job done in the post season. And I mean, that's why ultimately Jerry Jones went with Mike McCarthy as the head coach is because he had so much sustained success in green Bay. You know, yeah, they had the super bowl in 2010, but they were just a long run there where every single year the Packers were in it.

And let's be honest, the Packers dominated the NFC North at that time. And so, you know, before Mike McCarthy got here, you know, Jason Garrett would have a one really good year and then they would drop and then they have a good year and then they drop. And really Beyonce last year, we thought that that was going to happen again here because of, you know, Dak hurts his thumb and the season opener, he's going to be out.

We're thinking five, six, seven, maybe more games. And it just looks like it was setting up for that. And then Cooper Rush comes in kind of keeps the ship afloat. I mean, to be honest with you, it's like everyone looks at it as a disappointing season down here because they lose the San Francisco and they lose, you know, the divisional round, can't get back to the NFC championship game. But I mean, the stability that Mike McCarthy has shown as head coach is just something that really hasn't been done down here in a while. John Michaud before we let you run, does Dan Quinn just have the best agent in the world? Cause I always feel like we hear about him potentially becoming the next Cowboys coach or getting a job somewhere else and he keeps on staying as the DC. I think that Dan Quinn has the experience of being a head coach in the NFL and knows that probably his next shot might be his last one.

So he's being really picky about it. And the fact that, let's be honest, there's a lot of talent in this defense and we have Micah Parsons and some of the pieces that they have there. If you don't have that right spot that you're going to go to, to be a head coach, I don't know if it's necessarily the most intriguing thing for him. I know he's being paid very well. He's one of the highest paid, if not the highest paid assistant coaches in football. But it has been interesting because these last two off seasons, I would have bet money that he would have taken one of these head coaching jobs and now he's back for year three. And obviously that was so far, that's been the biggest positive and it's really not been close to this Cowboys off season. Last thing I'll ask you, we know Sean Paden and Jerry Jones are close. That was rumored before the start of the season, even at times during the season as well.

Did that ever have any legs or not so much? No, I mean Jerry, okay now if they would have really dropped off, let's say after Dak got hurt and this would have been another down year and you're riding that same cycle, like I said, one year up, next year down, maybe then. But I never got this sense last year during the season. Especially, I mean, especially after they won with a backup quarterback, you know, winning four out of five like that. I just didn't think there was any chance he was going to move off the McCarthy for another year. Now if you said that Sean didn't take that job, he's still out there and then a year from now, yeah you can revisit it. But I really thought that Mike sealed it up with how they played without Dak and Jerry has just seen this Cowboys team too often when the starting quarterback hasn't been there, kind of falter.

And so no, I didn't think that there was like a real chance of that happening. Oh and then the other fact is this isn't a team that does anything really significant in free agency. They add and build this roster to the draft.

So the fact that you're going to have to give up picks to pay Sean and to get Sean Payton, that really made it unlikely to me. Covers the Cowboys for the athletic. Make sure you check him out. John Machoda here with us on the Zach Gilb show. John, appreciate it. Thank you. Anytime. Thanks for having me on.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-22 22:34:52 / 2023-02-22 22:42:30 / 8

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