Cooper Rush has done his best to downplay any sort of quarterback controversy within the Dallas Cowboys, but the franchise faces a decision beyond when to once again turn over the offense to Dak Prescott. Rush, who will be a free agent this coming offseason, told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio that he has “proven he can be a starter in the NFL elsewhere.”
“I spoke to him [Rush] after the game. He said he thinks he’s proven he can be a starter in the NFL elsewhere, and he’s ignoring any noise about a potential controversy in Dallas — even if some if it is coming from Jerry Jones himself,” Florio said October 2 on NBC’s “Football Night in America.”
Despite owner Jerry Jones’ playing up the drama about a possible quarterback competition, Prescott will be back under center for the Cowboys sooner rather than later. Rush has done his best to quash any possible quarterback controversy, but his comments to Florio indicate that the veteran will be looking for a starting job in 2023.
All Signs Point to the Cowboys Losing Rush This Offseason
The Cowboys can offer Rush a sizable raise from his current $1 million salary, but Prescott’s $160 million contract is one of the many factors that will keep the star as the team’s QB1. There will likely be several quarterback-needy teams who will look to make a run at Rush this offseason.
Unless the Cowboys are prepared to turn over the team to Rush, the two parties are likely headed toward a breakup this offseason. Throughout the preseason, Dallas did not make Rush a priority, releasing him as the team finalized the 53-man roster and knowing he could not be claimed off waivers by another team.
This roster move still opened up the possibility of Rush signing with another team, a decision that now looks extremely risky in hindsight. The Cowboys were able to re-sign him to the team’s practice squad, and added him to the active roster only after Prescott went down in Week 1.
Could the Cowboys Look to Trade Rush?
Knowing the team faces an uphill battle to re-sign Rush, could the Cowboys explore a potential trade once Prescott returns to full health? Rush’s trade value admittedly takes a hit by the fact that he will be a free agent in 2023. Heavy.com’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo labeled the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers as three potential trade partners for the Cowboys.
“However, while it may seem unlikely that the Cowboys trade Rush, because of how valuable a competent and established backup quarterback is to success in today’s NFL, Dallas could certainly benefit from additional draft capital to replenish a beleaguered offensive line and wildly inconsistent receiving corps,” Lombardo wrote on September 30.
The payoff of gaining a mid- to late-round pick for Rush is unlikely worth the risk of having little insurance behind Prescott in case the star quarterback sustains a setback with his injured hand. Despite the Cowboys’ faith in Prescott, the franchise quarterback has missed significant time in two of the past three seasons.
It will be interesting to see who the Cowboys pursue as the team’s backup quarterback for 2023 if Rush signs with another team this offseason. Will Grier, who is currently on the team’s practice squad, would be an immediate candidate after pushing Rush for the backup job during training camp.