Former No. 3 Pick Among Cowboys’ Top Backup QB Options, Says Analyst

Cowboys Rumors

Getty Blake Bortles is a potential backup quarterback options for the Cowboys.

With Andy Dalton bolting for the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys have a sizeable void at quarterback behind Dak Prescott. It is a position with even more scrutiny this offseason given Prescott is coming off significant injuries. One player to keep an eye on is former Jaguars starting quarterback Blake Bortles as The Athletic’s Jon Machota detailed.

“The most notable names among the current free-agent quarterbacks include former top 10 draft picks Alex Smith, Robert Griffin III, Blake Bortles and Blaine Gabbert,” Machota noted. “One other notable name is former Packer Brett Hundley, who McCarthy drafted in the fifth round in 2015.”

Bortles was never able to live up to the expectations of being the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Despite being the butt of jokes on NFL Twitter, Bortles has had promising moments over his career including postseason success. Bortles’ best statistical season came in 2015 when the quarterback notched 4,428 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has not been able to display the necessary consistency to be an NFL starting quarterback but is a viable backup candidate.

Since the Jaguars opted to move on from Bortles, the quarterback has had multiple stints with the Rams as well as the Broncos. Bortles last took a snap in a regular-season game for the Rams in 2019.

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Hundley Is Another Intriguing Option for the Cowboys

What is it that an NFL team looks for from a backup quarterback? For the Cowboys, the ideal option understands that Prescott is clearly the team’s franchise quarterback and is there to assist his weekly process in preparing for opponents. The player also needs to have the ability to help the Cowboys win games in the event Prescott is sidelined for a few weeks.

As Machota mentioned, Hundley is another intriguing option given his ties to Mike McCarthy from their time together in Green Bay. After his time with the Packers, Hundley had a brief stint with the Seahawks before spending the last two seasons with the Cardinals. Back in 2018, McCarthy admitted Hundley “wasn’t ready” to be the team’s starter when Aaron Rodgers was sidelined, but also offered praise for the quarterback’s future potential.

“I believe in Brett Hundley,” McCarthy said at the time, per Wisconsin State Journal. “I do fully recognize that he has a lot of football in front of him. He has a big upside. Our structure and our coaching staff, we need to make sure we maximize that, but we also need to learn from the other parts of the offense that we didn’t do as good as we would have liked, and we’ll learn from that platform. I do believe Brett has a big upside, and (I’m) looking forward to getting back to work with him.”

McCarthy on Cowboys Backup QB: ‘That’s a Position We’ll Continue to Look At’

The Cowboys have Cooper Rush, Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci currently on the roster. During a recent press conference, McCarthy admitted it is still a position the Cowboys are looking to improve behind Prescott.

“That’s a position we’ll continue to look at,” McCarthy noted, per USA Today. “You want as much competition, talent, young, veteran. We’ll just continue to watch that.”

McCarthy also added the Cowboys have been in contact with a few veteran options. The Cowboys head coach did not specify what players the team has had talks with so far this offseason.

“There are definitely some veterans we’ve talked to who I’m sure would like the opportunity to be here,” McCarthy added, via The Athletic. “Now that Dak’s contract is done, and I think everyone has a clear understanding of what that room is potentially going to look like.”