Cowboys Quarterback Could Split for Division Rival: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could allow QB Cooper Rush to walk in free agency.

A Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s next landing spot could be a familiar rival.

As proposed by LP Cruz of SB Nation’s Blogging the Boys, one of Cooper Rush’s potential destinations could be none other than the Washington Commanders. Rush will be a free agent this offseason and will be looking to cash in following a five-game stint as starter in which he went 4-1.

The Commanders are currently seeking quarterback help as they likely move off of Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. Considering Sam Howell is the other quarterback on the roster, Washington will need a quarterback with some experience to complement Howell, who just completed his rookie season.

“Washington has gotten an up-close look at Rush with him having posted a stat line of 293 yards, 3 TDs, and a passer rating of 119.4 in his games against them,” says Cruz. “This may appear to be far-fetched but the Commanders have never been shy about signing a quarterback from a division rival. A few examples of such are Donovan McNabb, Mark Sanchez, and the previously mentioned Wentz. Rush to Washington may be a situation where he could compete with last year’s fourth-round rookie, Sam Howell, for playing time.”

Why Cooper Rush Makes Sense for Commanders

Wentz technically has two years left on his deal, but the Commanders can move him without absorbing any sort of dead cap penalty hit. In other words, he’s as good as gone.

Meanwhile, Heinicke will be a free agent. As much of a spark-plug as he was during Washington’s postseason push — they held the No. 7 seed entering Week 16 — he was replaced by head coach Ron Rivera during their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 by none other than Wentz.

While Rush doesn’t have the pure talent of Wentz or Heinicke, he brings a calming and game-managing presence. During the 2022 season, the 29-year-old posted an interception percentage of 1.9%. That number is comparable to the Seattle Seahawks’ Geno Smith and Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, both of whom ranked within the top 12 in the category.

When compared to the quarterback (Dak Prescott) in front of him, Rush did a much better job taking care of the ball. Prescott led the league in interceptions (15) with an interception percentage of 3.8%, despite appearing in just 12 games.

Cooper Rush Projected to Earn $20 Million Contract

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report predicted Rush would earn a contract worth $20 million across two years following his stint as Cowboys starter.

That’s an affordable insurance policy for a Commanders team lacking a franchise quarterback. Considering Howell is on a rookie contract as a fifth-round pick — he’s making a little more than $4 million across four years — $10 million per year Rush isn’t a big contract by any means.

An important note to factor in as how bloated the market for quarterbacks will be this offseason. Big names such as Derek Carr, Smith, Jimmy Garoppolo, Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones will be available. Long story short, Rush will not be a part of the first rush of quarterbacks changing teams — he’ll be a part of the second tier.

The Cowboys likely want Rush back, but they’re also well aware they may be priced out of his services. Team owner Jerry Jones actually recently committed to the idea of selecting a quarterback in the 2023 NFL draft.

With Prescott back and Dallas signaling they’ll look for another quarterback in the draft, Rush could be looking at his last days in Dallas.

Rush will seek an opportunity for playing time and competing with a fifth-round pick who has just one start under his belt will give him that chance.

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