There’s a new No. 14 in town.
Coinciding with the ramping up of training camp, the Dallas Cowboys recently released a photo of backup quarterback Andy Dalton rocking his silver and blue threads.
— Chase Shannon (@chase_shannon) August 1, 2020
The Cowboys signed Dalton, 32, to a one-year contract in May. His deal is worth a maximum of $7 million, tied to play-time incentives, and includes $3 million guaranteed. The former Bengals starter was dumped after Cincinnati drafted QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick.
Dalton explained earlier this offseason that he didn’t have an agenda in choosing Dallas over other NFL suitors during his brief stint on the open market. He’s not expecting to leapfrog Dak Prescott for the starting job — quite the opposite — nor is he (outwardly) focused on unlocking the additional $4 million built into his pact.
“After weighing everything, I felt like going to Dallas was going to be the right fit for me this year,” Dalton told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday, 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.”
Dalton — who has more than 34,000 passing yards, 200 touchdowns, 70 wins, and three Pro Bowl trips to his name across 10 NFL seasons — will hold a clipboard for Prescott in 2020, assuming Cooper Rush’s old role, while mentoring seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci, a practice-squad candidate.
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Stephen Jones Speaks Out Strongly on Dak’s Future
Amid whispers that Prescott isn’t long for the Cowboys, the team’s executive vice president reasserted his faith in the franchise-tagged signal-caller, who’s unsigned beyond this season.
Among other nuggets, Jones confirmed the sides held active eleventh-hour negotiations on July 15, the deadline for tagged players to ink multi-year deals, and used “100 percent” and “110 percent” measuring sticks to stake Prescott’s future in Dallas.
“We had a great visit with him at the deadline. We pushed to try to have a few more changes here and there to see if we could get it done,” Jones said in an interview with DallasCowboys.com. “But he’s got such a great outlook on the Dallas Cowboys, our football team, and he’s ready to go out and win a Super Bowl, which would only create more value for him, more value for the Cowboys.
“So we’re fired up about it and still have nothing but 100 percent belief in Dak and his future with the Cowboys, and that we can ultimately get a deal done. He’s special. As Jerry and I have said, we are 110 percent behind him, and ultimately feel like we’ll get this done.”
NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported after the deadline expired that Prescott was “involved at the last minute” in long-term contract discussions. But the parties, following several months of haggling, simply ran out of time, forcing the former Pro Bowl passer to play the upcoming campaign on his $31.4 million franchise tender.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL