Cowboys to Sign Former Dak Prescott Backup QB in New Role: Report

Cooper Rush

Getty Cooper Rush

Things have come full circle for the Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Cooper Rush.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday the Cowboys are expected to sign Rush, formerly of the New York Giants, to their practice squad once he clears COVID-19 testing and passes a physical, which “should be next week.”

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Rush, of course, was added by Dallas in 2017 as an undrafted free agent. He served as Dak Prescott’s understudy for three seasons, and aside from three pass attempts as a rookie, never appeared in a regular-season game.

He re-upped with the Cowboys this offseason via his restricted free agent tender, worth $2.13 million for 2020. He was considered a shoo-in for backup duties behind Prescott until the club drafted seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci and inked ex-longtime Bengals starter Andy Dalton, an indisputable upgrade at the position.

Rush was waived shortly after Dalton’s signing. The 26-year-old quickly landed on his feet, however, reuniting with fired Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who became the Giants’ offensive coordinator. Not that it mattered much; Rush was released at final cuts and re-signed to New York’s taxi squad, from which he was chopped on Sept. 29.

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Projected Role

Assuming he touches pen to paper, Rush will be the only QB on the Cowboys’ practice team. How long he’s there figures to depend on Dalton’s health and DiNucci’s progression as the new No. 2.

Dalton, who remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, did not practice Wednesday and is considered doubtful to suit up Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. DiNucci, a seventh-round James Madison product, will assume first-string reps going forward.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to find Ben DiNucci’s college tape. … We’re going to play our football and I think he’s going to be fine,” running back Ezekiel Elliott told reporters Wednesday, via The Athletic.

Cooper’s second stint could have more to do with distant third-stringer and recently-acquired journeyman Garrett Gilbert than it does DiNucci’s job security. It’s possible that Rush is elevated to the active roster, and Gilbert released, once he’s brought to speed on Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore’s system.

In Other Moves …

The Cowboys continued their defensive roster purge Wednesday by axing nose tackle Dontari Poe and defensive back Daryl Worley. This comes a day after the club traded Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions.

The transactions were wholly expected; speculation surfaced Monday that Dallas was attempting to unload each of the three players. They got lucky with Griffen, acquiring a 2021 sixth-round pick from Detroit, but could not find any takers for Poe or Worley, both of whom were held out of Wednesday’s practice in a last-ditch effort to drum up value.

Both of whom were also primary culprits on a historically futile Cowboys defense which ranks dead last against the run and in scoring, allowing an egregious 34.7 points per game under embattled coordinator Mike Nolan. The unit has ceded 20-plus first-half points in six consecutive games, an NFL record.

“The facts are that fundamentally, we’re not stopping the run and when you don’t do that, then a lot of other things come in behind that as to what you are lacking. But we got to correct this,” Dallas owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “We got to correct it. We’ll change some personnel for sure. We just to step in here and make adjustments. That’s what you do.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL