Dak Prescott has yet to comment on the three-time Pro Bowler now peering over his shoulder. But the peering three-time Pro Bowler has. Twice.
After appearing on Adam Schefter’s podcast on Monday, new Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton held an introductory conference call with reporters on Wednesday, during which he reaffirmed his nonthreatening status to the team’s incumbent signal-caller.
His goal: “Help Dak as much as I can” before retesting the open market in 2021.
“Obviously, I bring a lot of experience. … Hopefully, this sets me up for the future,” said Dalton, who won 70 regular-season games over his nine-year tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dalton, 32, has been around the NFL block long enough to know the score. He’s on a highly-incentivized one-year pact in which he’s guaranteed “just” $3 million. The 26-year-old he’s plopped behind is fighting for, and likely will receive, a record-setting contract coming off a career season.
The Cowboys, who fancy themselves Super Bowl contenders, are hoping (if secretly) that Dalton never sees the field in 2020. And Dalton, he claims, isn’t planning on it, either, even with an unlockable $4 million on the line.
“Dak has played really well. I knew the situation I was coming into. … Dak is the starter on this team. If for some reason he was to go down I will be able to step in and help this team,” he said, per the Dallas Morning News.
A heady individual on and off the field, Dalton echoed what he originally told Schefter, which in itself was refreshing honesty in an age of front-facing deceit. The TCU alumnus and Dallas resident was drawn to the Cowboys as part of his “big picture plan” — rehab his stock now, and capitalize later.
“After weighing everything, I felt like going to Dallas was going to be the right fit for me this year,” he said to Schefter, via The Athletic. “I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity. … I wanted to join a high-class organization and a team that’s ready to win, and be with Mike McCarthy, with his history with quarterbacks, it gives me a chance to come to a new place, a chance to learn, help Dak out any way I can, and just be an asset for this team. Obviously, I bring a lot of experience and can bring a lot to the table, so I’m here to help this team win and help in any way I can. … This team is ready to win. I felt like it was the best opportunity for this year and hopefully it will set me up for my future. This was a big picture plan. … I feel like I have a lot of years left (in the NFL). I feel like there is a lot of good football left for me.”
The Cowboys, though, have their own underlying motive. Not only is Dalton a monumental upgrade on former backup Cooper Rush, who was waived Monday, but his arrival buys back some leverage from Prescott amid slow-rolling negotiations toward a megadeal.
Call it QB insurance — a smart play by Jerry and Stephen Jones.
And unless your name is Cooper Rush, it’s a rare win-win for all parties, Prescott included.
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Dalton Confirms Communication with Dak
Obviously, Prescott and his new backup aren’t best friends. They aren’t even friends, from the sounds of things. Their relationship, Dalton explained, is first in the acquaintance stage, where they’re still apparently on a text-only basis.
But it’s an encouraging sign, the elder statesman establishing a line of communication with his younger counterpart.
“I sent him a text, reaching out. That’s been about it. …I just told him I’m excited to be here, and I’m going to help in any way that I can,” Dalton said Wednesday, per the Dallas Morning News.
Dalton added that Prescott responded to his text but didn’t specify what was said. Again, from the sounds of things, it appears to have been a fairly formal reply.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL