Sean Pendergast

What Should Houston Texan Fans Be Rooting for in These NFL QB Contract Standoffs?

Dak Prescott's eventual contract will impact C.J. Stroud.
Dak Prescott's eventual contract will impact C.J. Stroud. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Houston Texans have lived a pretty charmed life the last couple off-seasons. In 2023, the draft brought us C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson as the future saviors of the organization, and possibly the city itself. In 2024, the Texans went ultra aggressive in free agency and in trades, and landed Stefon Diggs, Joe Mixon, and Danielle Hunter, among others.

Along the way, there was almost no contractual drama. The one big extension handed out, which was to wide receiver Nico Collins, came with zero dark clouds or social media salvos needed. It was just your standard, quietly negotiated $72 million contract extension. The closest thing to drama the last two years has come from cornerback Steven Nelson, ever the agitator, going after Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans with personal insults about their attire and appearance. Needless to say, Nelson is gone.

Someday, the Texans will have off-season drama again. All teams, even the good ones do. I might even say ESPECIALLY the good ones do. The Cowboys, Packers, and Dolphins are all good NFL teams, and all three have high drama going on with their starting quarterbacks right now, as all three signal callers are looking for massive new contract extensions.

As we outlined last week, the average-at-best Jaguars QB, Trevor Lawrence, just secured a contract that ties for the highest average annual value in the league, at $55 million. I would submit that the three quarterbacks we were referring to above — Dak Prescott of the Cowboys, Jordan Love of the Packers, and Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins — are all better, more productive players than Lawrence. Prescott and Love, for sure.

So now all three of those teams are in staring contests with their team leaders, who all likely want more than Lawrence. Let's look at all three of these standoffs through a Texans prism. What should we be rooting  for in each of these instances?

DAK PRESCOTT, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott is in the final season of a long term contract he signed a few seasons ago, and sits on the books right now as a $55 million cap hit. This is on a team that also wants to give big deals to WR Cede Lamb and LB Micah Parsons this offseason. The worst thing for the rest of the league would be for Prescott to hit free agency next spring, because the ceiling for QB salaries would skyrocket, likely past $60 million per year, if there were a bidding war. With C.J. Stroud eligible for an extension in a couple seasons, the lower the highest salary stays, the better. So root for the Cowboys and Prescott to agree to a long term deal this offseason at slightly more than Lawrence is making, maybe $56 million or $57 million per year.

JORDAN LOVE, Green Bay Packers
Love is also in line for a big pay day, after waiting three seasons behind Aaron Rodgers, and in his first season as a starter, nearly knocking off the 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Here's the wrinkle with Love — his agent is David Mulugheta, who famously helped Deshaun Watson exit Houston and get a record setting amount of guaranteed money from the Browns. Mulugheta is also Stroud's agent. Thus, I am hoping that Love lands a lucrative, but team friendly that allows the Packers to sign some of his teammates to big deals. That would show me Mulugheta is okay having a client who doesn't push for top money, but instead prioritizes winning, like we hope C.J. Stroud does in two seasons.

TUA TAGOVAILOA, Miami Dolphins
Go on social media and search "Tua contract" and what you'll find out is that the Dolphins, at least as of right now, have zero desire to pay him at the Trevor Lawrence/Joe Burrow level of $55 million per year. Tagovailoa has been very vocal about how the lack of a new deal is affecting him mentally right now, so here's what I am hoping for, from a Texans perspective — I'm hoping that Tagovailoa gets no new deal, that he becomes a basket case worrying about it, and that he throws four picks against the Texans in Week 15 at NRG Stadium.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast