Cowboys’ Dak Prescott is ‘excited,’ fully healthy and expected to report for start of OTAs in Dallas

No, the Dallas Cowboys are not going to reach out to the Arizona Cardinals to discuss a possible trade for Kyler Murray, or for anything other than comparing tee times. With that bit of nonsensical offseason nugget now flushed, circle your attention back to Dak Prescott, the team’s unequivocal QB1 who is only weeks removed from having his once-historic contract restructured to free up cap space for 2022 (in other words, he’s not going anywhere) as the Cowboys also ready for the rapidly-approaching NFL Draft in Las Vegas starting on April 28.

The two-time Pro Bowler is also not long removed from having undergone a minor offseason procedure/surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, but he’s officially back to full health and “excited to get going” — a source tells CBS Sports — to lead the charge of Cowboys filing into the building on Monday for the start of voluntary OTAs in Dallas. A separate source notes Prescott has been back to his full physical capacities for weeks now, and “has no limitations” as the offseason program begins.

This is fantastic news for the Cowboys, who saw Prescott return from a devastating ankle injury that ended his 2020 season only to battle other health issues in 2022 — i.e., [throwing] shoulder strain in preseason, calf strain at midseason and the aforementioned non-throwing shoulder ailment. After firing out of the gate in his return, Prescott wasn’t the same player on the back end of the year after suffering the calf strain in the thrilling overtime win against Mac Jones and the New England Patriots in Week 6.

Still, he’d miss only one start, lead the Cowboys to a 11-5 record when under center and finish the regular season having thrown for 4,449 yards to go along with 37 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions, good enough for the second-best passer rating of his career (104.2). 

That said, it stands to reason a fully healthy Prescott might again take another major step forward in his development as the franchise quarterback, but things around him need to be sorted out to ensure he’s being set up well in the team’s bid to finally make a deep playoff run. It’s been an offseason to forget so far, to say the very least. From the latest headline involving an open murder investigation by Dallas Police — who sought out and eventually interviewed former second-round pick Kelvin Joseph regarding the fatal shooting — to a paternity suit against owner Jerry Jones and a whole lot in-between, it’s all the Cowboys can do to turn the corner back to delivering positive news to their fans. 

headshot-image

It all also comes at a time when the Cowboys graded out poorly for their ineptitude in 2022 free agency, made worse by controversial decisions such as the one to trade four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper, to release starting right tackle La’el Collins and a last-second contract implosion that cost them starting right defensive end Randy Gregory to the Denver Broncos. In trading Cooper, they were rolling the dice they’d be able to re-sign both Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, but they were only half-right, because Gallup is back on a five-year deal but Wilson took his talents to South Beach.

Gallup, who is returning from a torn ACL, is not at the moment expected to be ready for the season opener. Prescott will have the benefit of seeing Dalton Schultz on the field next season, be it by franchise tag or long-term deal to replace it, but Blake Jarwin is now released after hip surgery and, hell, the Cowboys are even thrust yet again into a kicker search, not knowing quite yet what they have in newly-signed local talent Chris Naggar, having released Greg Zuerlein with the hope of re-signing him to less money, but instead losing him to the New York Jets.

I think you’re gathering the gist at this point: there’s a whole lot to iron out in Dallas between now and September.

Prescott and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore — the latter joining defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in re-signing on longterm deals after flirting with coaching free agency — will get their first look at wideout James Washington, though, while Quinn tries to bring linebacker Dante Fowler up to speed in North Texas and, once conditioning is ramped up over the next couple weeks, coaches will begin some field drills to officially start the process of prepping for what will soon become mandatory minicamp and ultimately training camp in mid-July. 

The workouts that begin on Monday are indeed exactly as labeled — voluntary — but the Cowboys perennially have one of the best turnouts in the entire NFL. To have Prescott in the building on Day 1 is a big deal, and the 28-year-old waved off this year’s NFL Pro Bowl with the goal of being 100% when the program got underway.

Mission accomplished.