Sure enough, hours later, the Cowboys acquired a new QB, signing Garrett Gilbert off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday evening.
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Technically a third-year journeyman, Gilbert entered the league in 2014 as a sixth-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Rams. He bounced to the New England Patriots during his rookie campaign, where he earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of their practice squad.
Gilbert served on the Detroit Lions’ and then-Oakland Raiders’ taxi squads in 2015. He remained with the Raiders through 2016 and, after working out for the Cowboys in 2017, spent much of that season, and the following season, on the Carolina Panthers’ active roster.
Garrett Gilbert’s Stellar Play in Alliance of American Football
His star fading, Gilbert took his talents to the AAF’s Orlando Apollos, drafted in November 2018. He started the Apollos’ first-ever game and won Offensive Player of the Week with a 393-yard, two-touchdown effort in Orlando’s second contest. Gilbert led the AAF in passing yards (2,152), attempts (259), completions (157), and passer rating (99.1), and ranked second in TD passes (13), when the league shuttered football operations in April 2019.
He joined the Cleveland Browns days after the AAF folded and made five appearances last year. Retained for 2020, Gilbert, sent to the COVID-19 list in August, was waived by Cleveland on Sept. 5.
Altogether, Gilbert has 40 yards and two completions to his name across six career games. He’s “added” negative-three rushing yards on three attempts.
An Austin native, Gilbert, 27, played collegiately at Texas and SMU. He went 305-of-538 for 3,301 yards, 13 TDs and 23 interceptions for the Longhorns and 603-of-1,010 for 6,460 yards, 36 TDs, and 22 INTs for the Mustangs, stacking several single-game passing records.
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Role in Dallas
The Cowboys did not ink Gilbert to succeed Prescott under center. That job now belongs to veteran Andy Dalton, who completed 9-of-11 balls for 111 yards in Sunday’s 37-34 victory over the Giants, setting up the winning field goal with a 38-yard sideline strike to wide receiver Michael Gallup in the final seconds.
Holding a clipboard for Dalton will not be Gilbert, the distant QB3 on the depth chart, but seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci, whom McCarthy publicly challenged Monday.
“Ben DiNucci needs to step up, too. He’s going to be the backup to Andy that Andy was to Dak,” McCarthy said, via USA Today.
While Dalton’s role is obviously going to feature the most drastic change, DiNucci is also set for a big step forward in his young NFL career. It’s unlikely that DiNucci will see any playing time unless a Cowboys game is out of hand, barring something unforeseen happening.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL