Shortly after news broke of Andy Dalton’s one-year, $7 million agreement with Dallas, Mike Fisher of Maven Sports was told by a source that Dalton isn’t “meant as a threat” to Prescott, the incumbent starter.
“This signing of (Dalton) is not about Dak’s (contract),” the source informed Fisher.
But it could be about presumed backup Cooper Rush, whom Fisher now considers a “non-issue,” indicating Dalton’s deal, which includes $3 million guaranteed, automatically makes him the No. 2. Unless the Cowboys carry three QBs on the final roster — they carried just two last season — it’s likely that Rush is on the outside looking in.
Fisher retweeted a tweet projecting Rush to the unemployment line and seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci to the practice squad, leaving Prescott and Dalton on the 53-man squad.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that Dalton’s arrival “has nothing to do with Dak Prescott.”
A 2011 second-round selection, Dalton has thrown for over 31,500 yards, 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions on 62% passing across nine professional seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, compiling a 70-61-2 career regular-season record.
The 32-year-old, released on April 30, became expendable after Cincinnati used the No. 1 overall pick on LSU QB Joe Burrow.
Dalton, who played collegiately at TCU, chose to join the Cowboys due in part to their proximity to his home.
Neither Dallas nor Dalton have yet to comment on the signing, though Dalton’s wife JJ posted an announcement Sunday on Instagram.
We are so excited to be a part of this amazing organization!! @andydalton14 I couldn’t be more proud of the man you are! Watching you grow through these last 9 years in the NFL has been incredible! There is truly no one else like you! I can’t wait to see what God does this next season of life!! I am so proud of you! Go Cowboys!! Ephesians 2:10???
The starting job should remain Prescott’s to lose, but the Cowboys bought themselves some leverage in the event ongoing long-term negotiations get messy. Judging by his pay structure alone, Dalton will immediately slide in ahead of Rush, a new candidate for release or trade.
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Financial Impact of Potential Rush Departure
Rush, entering his fourth year, has operated as Prescott’s clipboard-holder since 2017. He returned to the Cowboys this offseason after signing his $2.13 million restricted free agent tender, a one-year resolution before Rush hits unrestricted free agency next March.
Dallas would recoup the entire worth of his tag by cutting him, with no dead-money charge. The result is the same if Rush were to be traded. A restructuring is out of the question since his 2020 salary is so low.
The aforementioned tweet is the likeliest outcome; Prescott under center, Dalton on the sideline and DiNucci on the practice team.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL