Cooper Rush made the most of his opportunity as the starter for the Dallas Cowboys and will now have a chance to cash in during free agency.
Rush had the benefit of a solid running game and stellar defense in Dallas, but he did his part, passing for 1,051 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions — all of those picks coming against the Eagles in his final start.
Rush will now hit the open market as a free agent for the first time in his career with some solid film for teams to evaluate.
“It will be exciting and we’ll see what happens,” Rush told Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve never been a free agent before and we’ll see what happens. It’s uncharted territory we’ll get there when we get there.”
Cowboys Will Find it Tough to Retain Rush
While Rush stepped up for the Cowboys, they’ll likely be hard-pressed to match the offers he’ll get as a free agent from QB-needy teams. Dallas is already paying Prescott a healthy sum on his four-year, $160 million contract and additional investment at the quarterback position would be tough to fit in with needs elsewhere on the roster.
The Cowboys are expected to bring Will Grier back next season and he could fill the backup role to Prescott. Rush will likely seek a situation where he could be in the mix for the starting gig but admitted he had a nice setup in Dallas.
“It helped me being in the system a long time,” Rush said. “Obviously the team we have around us and the defense, it makes playing quarterback a little less stressful. When you have good players around you trust in them and you just do your job and that’s all you can focus on.”
Rush’s Play Created ‘QB Controversy’ During Starting Tenure
Rush was very much a game manager, but at one point, owner Jerry Jones suggested that the Cowboys could have a quarterback competition on their hands.
“Wouldn’t it be something if you had a dilemma as to which way you go [at quarterback]? You do that if [Rush] gets 10 wins,” Jones said in September. “Same thing that happened with Prescott. I think like that.”
Jones was pushed on the idea of a QB controversy in Dallas and said “of course” he’d welcome that kind of dilemma.
“If [Rush] comes in and plays as well as Prescott played?” Jones said. “Played that well over these next games ahead? I’d walk to New York to get that.”
Jones continued to shower Rush with praise — saying he had the makeup of a top quarterback — but also backed off the idea that he could take Prescott’s job.
“Dak is the No. 1 quarterback, Dak is our guy,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “But isn’t it great that somebody came in and played well enough so that we can ask that question? That’s my point.”
Prescott flashed brilliance at times and had the Cowboys’ offense humming at various points in the season. But he struggled mightily with turnovers, tossing 17 in 14 games. That includes two in a Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers, which played a significant role in the Cowboys’ demise.