The Marvel Comics Universe, better known as the MCU, has centered fictional characters for over a decade. Although it’s losing steam commercially over the last several years, One property has been able to recapture the magic, the two-season animated run of What If…?
What If,,,? is another comic convert, that takes well-known characters, but from alternate universes, and puts them in scenarios originally encountered by other heroes. We’re going to borrow this concept for a minute and walk an alternate universe path of what if the Dallas Cowboys were willing to hit the reset button on the franchise and trade Dak Prescott.
Prescott has a ridiculously high cap hit in 2024, along with both no-tag and no-trade clauses. The almost assured scenario is that not only will he return to Dallas for 2024, but he’ll do it as the league’s highest-paid QB.
But what if he didn’t?
What if the two sides are unable to work out an extension over the next 3-plus months and owner Jerry Jones hit the reset button? We already outlined all of the teams we believe would jump at the chance to acquire Prescott, and that list includes the Chicago Bears.
Mock drafts, especially ones in January, are as What If… as anything can get in sports. So before things get serious, we’ll use this iteration to play out a scenario where Dallas doesn’t hitch their wagon to Prescott and instead looks to find the next starting quarterback.
Previous QB trades to compare to
This is the root of the conversation, right? Prescott doesn’t have the pedigree of either Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers. He also has the potential to continue as a franchise QB for the next decade. Prescott also is two years older than Deshaun Watson and while he’s clearly outplayed him since, is probably viewed in the same vein as Watson was when he was traded for three first-round picks, two thirds and swapping their sixth for a fourth.
Prescott’s also much younger than Matt Stafford was when he was traded, and honestly outperformed Stafford across their first eight years in the league by a pretty wide margin. Of course, the supporting staff was much better in Dallas than in Detroit. Still, Stafford was traded for a QB considered to be a bust, plus two future (none in the current draft year) first-round picks, two future second-round picks and two third-round picks.
Wilson was traded for three players, two first-round picks and a second. Rodgers was traded for a first, two seconds of which one could’ve moved up to another first, and a sixth.
What's the trade value for Dak Prescott and for Justin Fields
All of those players received new contracts after being traded, so his current contract is irrelevant for an acquiring team. I, and this is just personal opinion, would place Prescott’s trade value at two first round picks plus a second.
Based on the parameters around each of the aforementioned trades, it’s likely that Prescott would command two first-round picks, a second-round pick and a future fourth-round pick.
Fields on the other hand hasn’t been good. He’s had flashes here and there, but nothing that comes close to cementing him as a quarterback a team should look to build around.
Why the Bears do it
Prescott has veto power, so he clearly would be getting the largest contract in NFL history. They aren’t sold on Justin Fields in the least bit and really don’t want to commit to the fifth-year option in 2023, worth $23.3 million. Adding Prescott instead of a rookie QB, gives Chicago instant credibility and a chance to make the playoffs right now. They have the No. 1 pick in the draft, which they could trade to the highest bidder among Washington and New England, and know they’ll still be able to get Marvin Harrison, Jr. to pair with DJ Moore, plus a bounty of picks to keep replenishing in other areas.
Bears GM Ryan Poles didn’t draft Fields, so tying your future to a QB that isn’t even part of your regime seems like a dumb move, but the question is whether or not they want to roll with a rookie quarterback who history has shown is going to need time to develop. They could trade for the veteran QB who’s proven to be able to thrive in the first year of a new system.
Why the Cowboys do it
Grabbing Fields comes with little risk. His low 2023 salary ($2.3 million between base and roster bonus) is the best-case scenario in absorbing Prescott’s $62 million cap hit from a trade.
They could keep the picks and see if a QB falls to them, trade up for a top QB, or stay put and grab players at other positions and roll with the two youngsters. Dallas would now have both Fields and Lance under control for two seasons, and neither fifth-year option has to be enacted until after the draft, where Dallas now has the No. 9 and the No. 24 pick. The amount of options that gives Dallas is innumerable.
New England Patriots trade 1.3, 3.68, 2025 1st, 2025 4th to Chicago Bears for 1.1
Dallas Cowboys send Dak Prescott to Chicago Bears in exchange for 1.9, 2025 1st (New England), 2025 3rd
Bears 3-round Draft Haul
1.3: WR Marvin Harrison, Jr. – Ohio State
3.68: C Zach Frazier – West Virginia
3.75: G Christian Haynes – Connecticut
1.9: LSU QB Jayden Daniels
Adding Daniels to sit for a year behind Justin Fields and Trey Lance. Dallas carries three quarterbacks and will look to put the fifth-year option on both of the young veterans. That locks in control for two seasons giving Dallas the ultimate flexibility to player anyone and recoup future trade assets in case either of them show promise.
TRADE: Dallas moves out of 1.24
Cowboys receive: 2.43, 3.74, 2025 3rd Rounder
Falcons receive: 1.24, 2025 4th Rounder
2.43: South Carolina WR Xavier Legette
2.56: Oregon Center Jackson Powers-Johnson
TRADE: Cowboys move up
Cowboys Receive: 3.65
Panthers Receive: 3.74, 5.124
3.65: Texas A&M Linebacker Edgerrin Cooper
3.87: UCLA Edge Defender Gabriel Murphy
5.174: Southern Miss Running Back Frank Gore, Jr.
Total Haul and Analysis
Trade: QB Justin Fields
1.9: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU
2.43 C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon
3.65: LB Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M
3.87: Edge Gabriel Murphy, UCLA
5.174: HB Frank Gore, Jr., Southern Miss
2025 1st Round Pick (New England)
2025 3rd Round Pick (Chicago)
2025 3rd Round Pick (Atlanta)
Trade: QB Dak Prescott
2025 4th Round Pick