As noted by ESPN’s Todd Archer, the veteran quarterback will earn a $1 million bonus if the Cowboys reach the playoffs. The incentive was built into the one-year free-agent contract he signed in May.
Dalton was guaranteed $3 million — $2 million in base salary and $1 million signing bonus — as part of the deal, which is worth up to $7 million.
To unlock the postseason escalator, Archer reports, Dalton must log at least 50% of the team’s offensive snaps. Heading into the finale, he’s taken 533 of 1,039 snaps (50.3%) in place of franchise QB Dak Prescott.
To unlock the entire $7 million, Dalton would need to clinch the East and then secure victories in the Wild Card ($500,000 bonus) and Divisional Round ($500,000) as well as the NFC Championship ($750,000) and Super Bowl ($1.25 million). Unlikely, but, hey, crazier things have happened.
Dalton turned in his best performance of the 2020 campaign amid Sunday’s 37-17 win over Philadelphia. The 33-year-old completed 22 of 30 passes for 377 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, spawning a pair of 100-yard wide receivers (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup) and a 100-yard rusher (Ezekiel Elliott).
Altogether, across eight starts, Dalton has thrown for 1,926 yards, 14 TDs and seven INTs on 187-of-286 (65.4%) passing.
“He’s been a joy to coach. … There’s no doubt that Andy could be a starter in this league,” head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday, via USA Today.
The 6-9 Cowboys, winners of three straight, will capture the NFC East crown if they beat the Giants and Washington loses to Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football.
“We just kind of had to push through some of the tough stretches that we had this year,” Dalton said after Sunday’s game. “At the end of the day, you want to be playing your best football in December and going into January. For us, I feel like we’re doing that right now.”
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Gallup Reacts to Possibility of Leaving Dallas in 2021
Gallup is under contract through next season, but that fact hasn’t curtailed speculation about his future with the Cowboys — a future Gallup nonetheless hopes will extend deep into the 2020s.
“I’d love to stay here as long as possible. As long as possible,” the third-year receiver said after Sunday’s win, via the Dallas Morning News. “It’s a great group of guys here. A great team, a great coaching staff. I want to be here as long as I can, as long as possible. It’s not always up to me, so we’ll just see how that goes.”
This idea of his potential departure took root after Gallup was held to zero catches on two targets amid Dallas’ Week 7 loss to Washington, his lowest output across three NFL seasons.
Following a 2019 breakout in which he produced 1,107 yards and six touchdowns on 66 catches (113 targets), Gallup has crashed back down to earth, like several others, in the Dak Prescott-less offense. Through 15 starts, he’s made 55 receptions for 794 yards and five touchdowns, outperformed by both Cooper (1,073 yards) and rookie CeeDee Lamb (892).
Gallup, a 2018 third-round draft pick, is still only 24 and under contract for peanuts — $750,000 this season and $920,000 in 2021, his walk year. He’s already proven at the NFL level and displayed tremendous chemistry with Prescott, particularly on deep balls. For all those reasons, but mostly financial, this “makes the Cowboys less inclined to move him,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL