Cowboys Could Make Run at Former $63 Million Pro Bowl QB, Says Analyst

Dak Prescott

Getty The Dallas Cowboys may be in the market for a backup QB in 2023 as insurance behind Dak Prescott.

The Dallas Cowboys may be in the market for a new backup quarterback this offseason depending on the future of current QB2 Cooper Rush. The veteran quarterback is slated to be a free agent in March and is expected to generate interest from other teams after his strong performance during Dak Prescott’s absence.

Prescott continues to be the Cowboys franchise quarterback with two additional seasons remaining on his current four-year, $160 million contract. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback has missed time in three straight seasons making backup quarterback an important position for Dallas to address.

Heavy Sports recently outlined why Baker Mayfield could be a fit for the Cowboys on a short-term prove-it deal. Additionally, USA Today’s K.D. Drummond labels Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as another potential free-agent target for the Cowboys.

“Cooper Rush played himself into a solid contract this offseason and that money isn’t going to come from a club which has invested $40 million per season in their starter,” Drummond detailed on December 27, 2022. “He’ll get paid by a team looking for a bridge/mentor type to a highly-drafted rookie QB.

“Will Grier is still an option, as he was neck and neck with Rush in camp but didn’t win the job in the preseason. Dallas could still look elsewhere after seeing how important the role is with Rush’s 4-1 stretch.”

Bridgewater May Be the Perfect QB2 Candidate

With Tua Tagovailoa battling injuries throughout the season, Bridgewater has been relied on in Miami posting 522 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 61.7% of his passes during his four appearances. Bridgewater never quite lived up to the three-year, $63 million contract he signed with the Panthers in 2020 but would offer the Cowboys the perfect resume to be a backup candidate. The signal-caller has experience as an NFL starter and can be relied on to help win games, if needed, during short spans of a season.

The veteran has made 64 career starts over his nine NFL seasons throwing for 14,959 yards, 74 touchdowns and 46 interceptions while completing 66.4% of his passes over this span. Bridgewater signed a reasonable one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Dolphins last offseason.

Will the Cowboys Re-Sign Rush This Offseason?

Dallas will undoubtedly attempt to re-sign Rush in free agency, but there are several factors to consider that likely will work against the Cowboys. Given his play earlier this season, Rush may have played himself into a more lucrative contract than Dallas is willing to spend for their backup quarterback.

Beyond the financial landscape, Rush is likely to be intrigued by a potential opportunity to at least compete for a starting quarterback job, something he will not be afforded in Dallas as long as Prescott is on the roster. The Cowboys could land a compensatory draft pick if Rush departs depending on what kind of deal the quarterback signs in free agency.

“So, how does Rush fit into that mix? If he keeps winning, he’ll likely rise near the top, and the Cowboys will need to decide if they want to pay top dollar to keep him around as a backup or let him walk and collect a compensatory draft pick,” NFL insider Doug Kyed wrote for Pro Football Focus on October 5. “We’ll wait until he produces more before we consider the option of Dallas franchising and trading Rush, as the New England Patriots did years ago with Matt Cassel. One source did point out that Bridgewater signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Panthers in 2020 after he went 5-0 as a starter with the New Orleans Saints as Drew Brees’ backup in 2019.”