National Football League
If Dak Prescott leaves Cowboys, who are his best suitors in 2025?
National Football League

If Dak Prescott leaves Cowboys, who are his best suitors in 2025?

Updated May. 2, 2024 3:58 p.m. ET

The music has stopped, and the chairs have been filled for 2024.

The 2024 NFL Draft was the last part of the process, and now all the league's quarterback spots have been filled. Between free agency and the draft, we've seen eight teams shake up their starting QB situation. Now, we'll wait to see how those decisions pan out.

That's interesting in its own right, but it also sets the stage for the third (and last) part of our series on Dak Prescott's murky future with the Dallas Cowboys.

We've been through this from the Cowboys' perspective. We've examined what it will cost to retain Prescott with a new contract. And if a deal can't be worked out by next March, we've also considered the Cowboys' best options to move forward without him.


For the record, it still feels like the Cowboys — who don't have a QB under contract for 2025 — are the heavy front-runner to re-sign their star quarterback, and there's plenty of time for that to happen.

But in the event that Dak and Dallas actually do part ways, let's consider the three-time Pro Bowler's options in 2025. If Prescott hits the open market next March at the age of 31, he'll draw plenty of interest from around the league. Now that we have a better idea of who has their quarterback of the future (and who still doesn't), we can make an educated guess at which clubs would enter a Prescott sweepstakes.

If Dak won't be wearing a star on his helmet in 2025, here are seven teams (and a few wild cards) that currently appear best positioned to acquire him.

1. New York Giants

The Giants top this list for multiple reasons. They are a logical landing spot — but also a fun storyline. Prescott's no-tag clause means he can do as he pleases if he hits the open market, including signing with a division rival that's desperate for good quarterback play.

Yes, Daniel Jones is still in New York, with young journeyman Drew Lock as an option behind him. But it sure seems like the Giants are setting themselves up for a transition after this season. Lock is on a one-year deal, and the guarantees run out on Jones' $160 million extension after this season.

If Jones doesn't improve by a significant margin, the Giants could release him in 2025 and save $19 million toward the salary cap. That, combined with a handful of contract restructures, would give them all the money needed to pursue Prescott. We've seen them do it as recently as this spring, when they inked Brian Burns to a $141 million extension after trading to acquire him from Carolina.

Fortunately for Prescott, the situation in North Jersey might look a heck of a lot better in 2025 than it has in recent years. The Giants spent this spring adding reinforcements to their offensive line, and No. 6 overall draft pick Malik Nabers gives them a true No. 1 receiver for the first time since Odell Beckham Jr. left town. Signing Prescott and solving the quarterback issue in March would allow general manager Joe Schoen to focus on drafting even more weapons next April.

The Giants should have a healthy appreciation for Prescott's ability. After all, they haven't beaten him since his rookie season, posting a dismal 2-12 record against the Cowboys with him in the lineup.

It's strange to think about Prescott wearing blue and red, but there are about a half-dozen reasons why it wouldn't be surprising.

2. Las Vegas Raiders

As soon as Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix went off the board to Atlanta and Denver, respectively, in last week's draft, this clicked into place.

The Raiders missed their chance at a franchise quarterback in 2024, but that hardly seems like a big deal. Head coach Antonio Pierce and general manager Tom Telesco should have some leeway, seeing as they both just got hired this year.

Rather than force a pick at quarterback, it made sense to build the roster with talented prospects like tight end Brock Bowers and offensive lineman Jackson Powers-Johnson. A successful draft class, combined with vets like Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Christian Wilkins, should help the Raiders stay competitive with Gardner Minshew or Aidan O'Connell at quarterback.

That only feels tenable for 2024, though. The decision to sign Jimmy Garoppolo aged horribly, but the Raiders will need to get back on the horse and try to find top-level quarterback play. With roughly $71 million in expected cap space, they might not be able to make Prescott the strongest offer, but they can certainly throw their hat in the ring. 

3. Tennessee Titans 

With apologies to Will Levis, the goal here is to consider every possibility.

It's impossible to say how good the Titans will be this fall, but we do know they've given Levis every resource to succeed. The offensive line looks revamped. Tennessee has now spent big-time draft picks on Peter Skoronski and JC Latham, and they signed Lloyd Cushenberry to a $50 million contract to start at center. In addition, they've got a legendary offensive line coach in Bill Callahan to coach those guys.

Those weren't the last of the upgrades. Calvin Ridley and Tony Pollard have joined DeAndre Hopkins in Nashville, giving the Titans a workable situation on offense.

No one's asking Levis to win the Super Bowl, but at the very least he should be able to take a step forward and prove himself as a guy worth building around. Think of 2024 as an audition for the long-term job.

Should that test go poorly, it's anyone's guess where the Titans turn to next at QB. Perhaps they'll look to the draft and take another chance there. But second-year general manager Ran Carthon has now sunk a significant amount of money into his roster. Instead of hoping to hit on a rookie, he'd probably prefer to go the veteran route.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

On paper, Pittsburgh makes too much sense as a potential landing spot for Prescott.

The Steelers just finished an overhaul of their offensive line, and their skill positions look solid. This might not be the most stacked offense in the league, but it's plenty appealing for a free-agent quarterback. Just ask Russell Wilson, who chose Pittsburgh after his departure from Denver in March.

But just how long will Wilson's stint in the Steel City last? He's signed for just one year. The same can be said for Justin Fields, as the Steelers opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract after trading for him earlier this year.

If neither quarterback catches on, the Steelers head into 2025 with no signal-callers under contract and roughly $94 million in salary-cap space. They'd have to be a favorite to pursue a quarterback of Prescott's caliber.

My only question is whether that fits the Steelers' DNA. This franchise is as old school as they come, and they'd seemingly prefer to draft and develop their quarterback of the future. All the Steelers' greatest signal-callers — from Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger to Neil O'Donnell and Kordell Stewart — were homegrown. Even signing Wilson for $1.2 million this offseason was a bit of a departure from how they typically do business.

Still, the Steelers haven't had quality quarterback play since 2020, and it's been even longer since Roethlisberger was truly at the top of his game. If 2024 is another frustrating season, they could be eager to break out the checkbook to change that.

5. Carolina Panthers

It would be a bitter pill to swallow if the Panthers decide to move on from Bryce Young after only two seasons, but I think it's possible. Carolina isn't going to have the best offense in football in 2024, but the additions of Diontae Johnson, Robert Hunt, Xavier Legette and Jonathon Brooks are going to give Young a fighting chance. If he doesn't look like a franchise guy this year, it's fair to wonder if the Panthers cut their losses.

It's especially fair considering who owns the Panthers. David Tepper's influence was instrumental in trading for Sam Darnold, as well as trading up for the No. 1 overall pick that landed Young. He's desperate for a true franchise quarterback, having missed the peak of the Cam Newton Era. The Panthers spent a ton of money in free agency this spring, but they'll have funds left over if they want to pursue Prescott in 2025. Whether they want to will hinge on Young's development.

6. Seattle Seahawks

The harsh reality of this league is that even guys with massive salaries can be moved. There's been speculation about Geno Smith's future in Seattle from the moment he signed his three-year, $75 million extension in 2023. The speculation will get much louder in 2025, after Smith has earned all the guaranteed money on his deal.

Strictly speaking, Smith is under contract with Seattle until 2026, but those guarantees are the key. If the 34-year-old doesn't play up to snuff this fall, the Seahawks can save $25 million against the salary cap by releasing him. They'd incur a $13.5 million dead cap charge, but that's relatively small when you're talking about a salary cap north of $265 million.

Per multiple reports, Seattle was one of several teams that tried to trade up and draft Penix. That isn't surprising, given Smith's contract situation. The only question with the Seahawks is, if they want to move on from Smith, would they be willing to do it with another expensive veteran or turn to the draft? It'll likely depend on how the 2024 Seahawks fare.

7. Los Angeles Rams

This one is my long shot, but it's my attempt at reading tea leaves. The Rams don't seem like a logical landing spot for a veteran quarterback because they have a lot of cap commitments as well as a franchise guy in Matthew Stafford. But Stafford is reportedly unhappy with his current contract and wants more guarantees. 

If the Rams are unwilling to amend his deal, perhaps it's because they'd rather keep their options open. Stafford just turned 36, and he has battled injuries in recent years. 

It might seem cold-blooded, but this is the same team that traded away Jared Goff. The Rams could release Stafford — or trade him — to free up cap space and finagle things from there. Some might balk at replacing Stafford with Prescott, though keep in mind Prescott is six years younger. And while Prescott's 2-5 playoff record might have some scoffing right now, Stafford was 0-3 in the postseason before he linked up with Sean McVay & Co.

Speaking of McVay, that's one more wrinkle that makes this interesting. McVay has been linked to retirement rumors for a few years now. Given how obsessed he is in winning, and how much he's gotten used to winning at the highest level, doesn't it seem plausible that he'd rather take a bold swing to acquire another franchise quarterback than start all over with a rookie?

It'd be tricky, because the Rams don't exactly have a ton of cap space. But if they're willing to move on from Stafford, they could free up the funds to make Prescott an offer to come to the West Coast.

Like I said, it's a long shot. But it's a fun option to think about.

8. The Wild Cards

It's hard to take a full accounting of just how rare it is for a quarterback of Prescott's caliber to hit free agency. Tom Brady was obviously more accomplished when he did it, but he was also 42 years old. Kirk Cousins hit the market just two months ago, but he was five years older than Prescott and recovering from an Achilles tear.

If Prescott, at 31, hits the market with a full bill of health, it'll be fascinating to see who just might get involved — because there will inevitably be a surprise team or two.

For the purpose of this exercise, I ruled out teams that seem to have long-term answers at quarterback. Denver just drafted one, while I would expect Miami and Detroit will soon extend their incumbent starters.

But if a unique opportunity presents itself, you just never know. It'd be shocking considering the financial restraints, but New Orleans and San Francisco could both enter a Prescott sweepstakes — even if they have to shed massive amounts of salary to make it work.

It's a roundabout way of saying Prescott will have options, but that's what makes it so fun. With the quarterback landscape set for 2024, we can start to guess who will have a need in 2025.

And we don't have to guess that winning quarterback play, which Prescott has consistently provided in his eight seasons as a starter, is something the NFL is willing to pay for.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports and hosts the NFL on FOX podcast. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team's official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing "Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion" about the quarterback's time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.

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