As a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman knows the scrutiny of being a high-profile athlete.
It was intense in the 1990s when the Cowboys were the toast of Dallas and the focus of the nation for their on-field success and off-the-field exploits.
And that was before the advent of social media.
He said the scrutiny the players have to deal with today is on another level, especially when it comes to quarterbacks and the money they are being paid.
During an exclusive interview on 1310 AM The Ticket, Aikman said a lot of factors have to be considered when choosing a franchise quarterback in terms of how they carry themselves and handle things off the field.
To that end, Aikman gave approval to a big-money contract extension for Dak Prescott, whom he called the perfect quarterback for the Cowboys.
“I think that when you’re evaluating quarterbacks coming to a team and essentially being the CEO and the face of your franchise, how do they handle a lot of different situations?” Aikman asked rhetorically during an interview that also included Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. “But now, that’s another layer that they have to concern themselves with — how do they deal with social media?
“When we were playing, the criticisms were from the media, and sometimes that was a little bit intense. But now, everyone has a platform, everybody can fire off whatever it is they’re thinking, and I think it does take a really mature person, someone who’s wired the right way in order to be able to handle all that.
“And when you’re talking about — I thought I got paid a lot when I played — but the money is a lot. You’re making a real commitment to these players when you commit those kinds of dollars, and I think everything has to be looked at, and that’s why I think Dak, for a lot of reasons, I think Dak is perfect for this franchise, for this city in the way he’s able to handle himself.”
Aikman made $55.5 million in salary during 12 years with the Cowboys, according to overthecap.com. His best deal included a $20 million signing bonus, though he only received $13 million as the Cowboys cut him before the final $7 million was due because of injuries.
The Cowboys are in active negotiations with Prescott on a new deal that could pay him at least $30 million annually, making him the highest paid player in franchise history. The former 2016 fourth-round pick is in the last year of a rookie contract that he has clearly outperformed, starting every game over the last three seasons and leading the Cowboys to two NFC East titles.
Vice president Stephen Jones has said he wants to sign Prescott to a new deal before the 2019 season and owner Jerry Jones said they are ready to invest in the former Mississippi State star for the long-haul because of his leadership and work ethic as well as his play.
Aikman seems to be on board as well.
The only question is when will Prescott get paid?