October 10, 2020 | 2:35pm
Dak Prescott is putting on some kind of salary drive. At some point, it seems inevitable he will cash in big with the Cowboys. The burning question is not if, but how much?
Will Daniel Jones ever get to that point in his career? When the debate is not whether the Giants should bring him back, but how many millions they should shell out to keep him?
The two quarterbacks are not on any kind of parallel path. They are not draft classmates. They do not share a stadium and a city, as Jones does with Sam Darnold. They are in the same division, and maybe someday they will duel it out on the field in meaningful games brimming with playoff implications.
What transpires Sunday at AT&T Stadium is not a showdown, not a referendum and certainly not a must-see event. All of Prescott’s fantasy football owners are considering themselves geniuses based on his pinball-wizard numbers the first four weeks of the season. The Cowboys are averaging 31.5 points a game, yet giving up 36.5, an imbalance directly responsible for their unsightly 1-3 record.
On the subject of unsightly, the Giants have scored fewer points (47) in four games than the Cowboys have scored in second quarters (53) this season. Look no further than a lack of production on offense as the main culprit in a 0-4 start to the Giants career of head coach Joe Judge and his offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett.
The scoring woes — at times attributable to Jones, at times a function of shoddy play around him — add angst to the dourness that infiltrates all losing environments. The Giants invested the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft on Jones. What if he is not the guy? That sort of swing-and-miss sets franchises back, back, back.
Garrett inherited the player one year into Jones’ development, and, one month in, the relationship has not sparked anything in the way of obvious progress — other than Jones’ greater attention to detail when it comes to protecting the ball.
Five years ago, Garrett hand-picked Prescott in the fourth round in 2016 — the draft neighborhood in which the quarterback is more of a hope than an expected sure thing. Garrett made the bold move to start Prescott as a rookie. The development was swift and steady.
Prescott has started 68 consecutive games, is making $31.4 million this season on the franchise tag, has 106 career touchdown passes, just 39 interceptions and is on pace for what would be a record-shattering 6,760 passing yards. It seems only a matter of time before he hits the heights with a stratospheric deal.
Prescott is 27. Jones is 23. Neither is a finished product. Prescott is trending up. Jones is not. Both got on the field as rookies and both have intersected with Garrett.
“What I would say going back really throughout at least the recent history in the NFL, typically, quarterbacks play best when they’re in a really good environment,’’ Garrett said. “That’s younger quarterbacks and that’s older quarterbacks. What everyone’s trying to do in an organization is create a good environment for their quarterback and give them a good supporting cast.
“If he’s in a situation where he’s carrying too much of a burden early on because the team is young and in their rebuilding stage, sometimes it’s a little bit harder for that guy to transition. I think that’s probably a common denominator for a lot of guys. Sometimes quarterbacks have to take their lumps because they’re really in the ground floor of the rebuilding process. The best ones I’ve been around have come out the other end of those experiences. Sometimes the transition happens smoother because the team is further along in their cycle of rebuilding, and that quarterback comes into that environment and is that much better.’’
Jones is part of a Giants rebuilding process and is taking his lumps. There is nothing smooth about his transition. No one said it would be easy.