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The four most realistic landing spots if the Cowboys trade Dak Prescott

So you want to trade Dak Prescott? Neither the Dallas Cowboys nor Prescott himself would likely want that result but these are the places he could realistically land
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

DALLAS —

Until the Dallas Cowboys reach a contract extension with quarterback Dak Prescott, or until the 2020 NFL Draft passes and Joe Burrow goes off the board, there will continue to be inane notions that the Cowboys can just trade for the Heisman Trophy winner from LSU.

Why the Cowboys simply can't trade Prescott anywhere they want has been covered. To succinctly reiterate, basically Prescott has to sign the tender if the Cowboys give him the franchise tag. If he doesn't, the Cowboys have no deal and Prescott can't be dealt. The former 2016 fourth-rounder from Mississippi State has say-so with regards to trading partners.

NFL players in the offseason aren't non-playable characters, like they are in franchise mode of the Madden NFL video games. Prescott isn't going to be a clueless automaton and ink a tender that sends him to a hard-luck franchise all so the Cowboys can draft his successor and score draft picks. 

If the Cowboys are obtuse enough to trade Prescott, a playoff-winning field general who has never endured a losing season and has a career 38-24 record, the two-time Pro Bowler isn't going to consent to summarily ending his lifelong dream of winning a Super Bowl as a Cowboys quarterback just to be a nice guy. Prescott will want to go to a winner.

Here are four teams that are realistic destinations for Prescott to continue his NFL career if Dallas followed the ill-advised counsel of social media. Keep in mind that if these teams traded for Prescott, they would have to give up two first-round picks and sign him to a long-term contract.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Though the Bucs finished 7-9, a large part of it was due to the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. No one is going to win when the starter is chucking 30 interceptions for the season. Coach Bruce Arians has proven that he can win with virtually anybody under center, as evidenced by the Arizona Cardinals' 2014 season when they made the playoffs with Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Ryan Lindley playing. 

2019 was the first year Arians had a full 16 games from his starting quarterback and failed to post a winning record. One of Prescott's strengths is protecting the football along with his durability. The NFC South is wide open with the New Orleans Saints as the only contenders.

2. Los Angeles Chargers — If Prescott cared only about the marketing side of being an NFL quarterback, L.A. would be a prime destination. There will also be plenty of buzz as the team moves into SoFi Stadium with the Los Angeles Rams in the fall. 

Even if the Chargers were playing one more season at Dignity Health Sports Park, Prescott would have a competent center in Mike Pouncey and a proven left tackle in Russell Okung. 

Keenan Allen and Mike Williams would be his receivers, and both produced over 1,000 yards in 2019. Prescott would lead the Chargers against the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs twice a year to battle for AFC West supremacy.

3. Tennessee Titans — The wild-card that bypassed the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens to play in the AFC Championship Game have a good thing going with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is a free agent along with 2019 Opening Day starter Marcus Mariota. 

However, Tannehill had one magical run compared to the seasons of high-level quarterback play from Prescott. Tannehill's Dolphins tenure included missing the last three games and wild-card game of 2016 with a knee injury, tearing his ACL in non-contact portions of training camp in 2017, and missing five games of 2018 with a right shoulder injury. 

Consider that Tannehill played 10 regular season games in 2019, and he will be 32 years old come Opening Day. Prescott will be 27.

4. Denver Broncos — General manager John Elway is desperate to instantly fix the Broncos' quarterback situation, and he has shown previously the willingness to do anything. In 2018, the club acquired Case Keenum and gave up on Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. When Keenum didn't have as magical of a season in Denver as he did the previous year with the Minnesota Vikings, Elway traded for Joe Flacco. 

The hiccup could be Drew Lock. The second-rounder from Missouri finished his rookie season with a 4-1 record. If the Broncos believe Lock can grow into the role, then Denver isn't a destination. However, Elway did get rid of a playoff-winning quarterback  to upgrade the position once before.

Do you think Dak Prescott would willingly agree to be traded somewhere other than Dallas to play football? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane

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