Cowboys Could Trade for Former ‘Playmaker’ Quarterback: Analyst

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could consider making a trade for Andy Dalton.

The Dallas Cowboys could bring back one of their former quarterbacks, according to one analyst.

As proposed by Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, the Cowboys could look to New Orleans Saints QB Andy Dalton to solve their quarterback dilemma. With Dak Prescott sidelined due to thumb surgery, Dallas “could explore” a trade for their former quarterback. Dalton previously started nine games for Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore when Prescott was sidelined for 11 games during the 2020 season.

“Though unlikely, the Cowboys could also explore a trade, such as for current Saints backup Andy Dalton, one of the NFL’s most experienced No. 2 QBs,” says Benjamin. “Dalton spent 2020 in Dallas, notably starting nine games in place of an injured Prescott during Mike McCarthy’s first year as Cowboys coach.”

Dalton is Cheaper Option Compared to Garoppolo

Dalton wouldn’t exactly be the most appealing of options, but he could be acquired for low draft capital and at a cheap salary (salary is under $2 million for this season). One of the hiccups of potentially acquiring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the fact that as a fellow NFC contender, they’d likely ask for a Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick. Outside of the high asking price, Garoppolo’s base salary is higher at $6.5 million and could earn an extra $250,000 per game when he takes at least 25 percent of the offensive snaps.

The 34-year-old quarterback had a decent season during his stint with the Cowboys, but it was far from impressive. Dalton went 4-5 as the starting quarterback, throwing 14 touchdowns versus eight interceptions. However, he threw for just 197.3 yards per game, which was actually a career low up until that point for the veteran quarterback.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dalton posted a 66.9 offensive grade during the 2020 season. Among all starting quarterbacks that season, Dalton ranked 24th in the league in offensive grade.

While Dalton’s production was underwhelming, he does possess a decent amount of athleticism. Bucky Brooks of referred to Dalton as an “effective playmaker” on play-action.

“Dalton’s ball-handling skills, quick feet, and athleticism make him an effective playmaker off play-action,” said Brooks. “He does a good job of selling the run with extended fakes before setting up quickly and firing darts to receivers on digs or comebacks. Although Dalton is comfortable and experienced playing in a traditional offense (under center) with play-action passes featured prominently, his game is ideally suited to a shotgun-oriented offense.”

Cowboys’ Third Quarterback Will Likely Serve as Backup

With that being said, it doesn’t appear the Cowboys desire making a move for another starting quarterback. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler essentially ruled out the idea — in addition to reporting that Dallas is unlikely to add free agent quarterback Cam Newton — of Dallas making a trade for a quarterback.

“As of now, the Cowboys do not plan to trade for a starting quarterback, barring an unforeseen development,” says Fowler. “A source told me that path is unlikely. Dak Prescott’s improved timeline (he has a chance to return in October) and the team’s familiarity with Cooper Rush helps them stay patient here. So, the most likely scenario is Dallas adds a third quarterback via the practice squad and elevates backup Will Grier on game day. I don’t expect the team to sign free agent Cam Newton. It will probably acquire somebody else.”

If Dallas does acquire a third quarterback, it will likely be a given that he’ll play the backup role to Cooper Rush until Prescott returns. Considering Dalton is already an entrenched backup with the New Orleans Saints, he would have no issue accepting that role with the Cowboys. The fact that he has familiarity in the system only helps add credence to the idea Dallas could consider a trade for Dalton.

If the Cowboys are looking for a low-upside veteran insurance policy, Dallas could find an appealing option in Dalton.

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