Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott passes against the Seattle Seahawks. Prescott averages about 500 passes a season. With his new contract, that’s about $80,000 per pass. Credit: Stephen Brashear, AP

Dak Prescott has signed a breathtaking new contract to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. Actually, it takes your breath away. Somehow, the former Mississippi State Bulldog will have to scrape by on $160 million over the next four years.

That’s an average of $40 million a year and, among NFL salaries, is second only to what Patrick Mahomes makes for playing quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Today’s column will try to put Prescott’s contract in perspective. Let’s start with this: He will make more money next season than he has made in the previous five seasons combined — not bad for starters.

Prescott will make far, far more money than New Orleans originally paid to build the Superdome. Even accounting for inflation, that’s a staggering thought.

Here’s a sampling of Dak’s buying power:

• The most expensive home listed on the Dallas market currently is one under construction. It is an exquisite 23,688-square foot Palm Beach Mediterranean-styled manse, replete with six bedroom suites, eight full bathrooms, three-half bathrooms, a two-story great room, a cinema, a spa, an exercise room, a yoga studio, a commercial grade elevator to three different levels, a basement with seven car bays, an adjoining office, a safe room and a catering kitchen.

Now, you or I could buy this house for $37.5 million, presuming we could come up with the $740,000 down payment and make the monthly $125,000 note. Dak could pay cash out of his $67 million signing bonus and have millions left over.

• Of course, Dak already has a mansion with his own football field in the backyard, so he could, if he wanted, purchase a fleet of eight top-of-the-line, brand new Lear jets instead.

• The most expensive car in the world reportedly is the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300 priced at $3.9 million. Over the next four years, Dak could buy 41 of those.

• Quarterbacks are almost always outstanding golfers. Dak could buy his own course. No, he could buy several of his own courses. Fort Worth’s Woodhaven Country Club, an 18-hole championship course replete with clubhouse, pro shop, Olympic swimming pool, tennis courts and a dining area that can accommodate 500 at a time, is available for $5 million. For Dak: chump change.

• Reportedly, Dak prefers fishing to golfing. He grew up fishing off the bank with his grandmother in south Louisiana. He need not fish off the bank anymore. No, he can buy an elaborate, $400,000 Boston Whaler. Matter of fact, over the next four years, he could buy 400 of them.

• When Mississippi State spent $68 million for the elaborate redo of Dudy Noble, people raised their eyebrows. Dak almost could pay for it with his signing bonus alone. Think about: $67 million for signing his name. For a guy named Dak Prescott, that’s $6.7 million per letter.

Dak Prescott and Eli Manning exit the field after the Giants defeated the Cowboys 20-19in 2016. Manning remains the highest paid pro football player, career-wise, with earnings of $252.5 million in salary alone. Credit: Michael Ainsworth, AP

Now then, we could argue forever whether any quarterback, any athlete, is worth $40 million a year. I mean, $40 million will pay the annual salaries more than 11,000 Mississippi public school teachers. Think about that: 11,000 teacher salaries.

Dak’s entire new contract wouldn’t pay to fix Jackson’s plumbing problems, but it would be a decent down payment.

But when you really get right down to it, there is no argument to be had. The NFL is a money-making machine. Clearly, Dak’s salary is what the market will bear. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ net worth is reportedly $8.9 billion. That’s with a B.

Here’s another way to look at it: At $40 million a year, Dak Prescott would have to quarterback the Cowboys 225 more years to make what Jones is worth.

And Jerry Jones isn’t risking life and limb every Sunday in the fall.

Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.