Cooper Rush will carry a clipboard for another year.
Archer didn’t specify, but it appears Dallas will use an original-round tender on Rush, worth about $2.14 million. This differentiates from the second-round tender they’re applying to RFA tight end Blake Jarwin, which costs $3.278 million, per Over The Cap.
A 2017 undrafted free agent, like Jarwin, Rush has spent his first three professional seasons working behind Dak Prescott. He’s attempted three career regular-season passes for a whopping two yards, adding 13 yards on two scrambles. He made a pair of appearances in 2019, at one point taking first-string practice reps due to Prescott’s shoulder injury, but never threw a live ball.
“That’s the job,” he remarked in December.
Rush, 26, will return as Dak’s understudy, assuming the two-time Pro Bowler inks his expected franchise tag or a long-term contract. There’s a distinct possibility Dallas again carries only two signal-callers on the 53-man roster when it’s eventually whittled down.
It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, the new coaching staff, led by head coach Mike McCarthy, can coax out of Rush — what they accomplish that the previous regime couldn’t. The Cowboys appointed a new QB coach, Doug Nussmeier, but retained coordinator Kellen Moore to ease the offensive transition under McCarthy.
Rush (6-3, 225) made 49 consecutive starts at Central Michigan from 2013-16, compiling 12,894 passing yards (coming thisclose to the all-time school record) and 90 touchdowns. He was a second-team All-MAC selection in 2015 and a third-team All-MAC choice in 2016.
The Cowboys have yet to tender their third and final RFA, defensive tackle Daniel Ross.
NFL free agency officially begins March 18.
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Dak Reportedly ‘Might Prefer’ Unconventional Contract
The Cowboys and Prescott are no closer to a contract resolution than they were in September, when Dallas reportedly made him an offer worth $33 million annually — an offer he promptly rejected.
But there may be a compromise, in the form of a short-term deal, similar to the fully-guaranteed, three-year, $90 million contract Kirk Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018.
Per ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, who confirmed he refused the $33 million-per-year proposal, this is the route Dak might opt to take, culminating in a massive windfall now and the opportunity to re-test the open market later, before he turns 30.
Coincidentally (or not), it isn’t the first time a resolution of this magnitude has been suggested. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sept. 15 that Prescott was “holding out” for a shorter, lucrative pact rather than the extended-years megadeal some of his teammates had received.
The deadline to apply the franchise tag is March 12, after which the parties would have until July 15 to negotiate a longer-term arrangement.
Rapoport claims Dallas will exercise the exclusive tag in the absence of a long- or short-term contract. This would pay Prescott $33 million for 2020, roughly $6 million than he’d earn on the non-exclusive tag.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL