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.