Dallas Cowboys fans rooting for the team to sign Cam Newton may have received their answer after the team claimed another former Carolina Panther quarterback off waivers, Will Grier.
The addition of Grier likely signals the Cowboys’ decision on Newton given the team now has a total of three quarterbacks on the active roster. Despite rumblings that the Cowboys had an interest in Newton, Dallas clearly prioritized adding Grier over the ex-Patriots quarterback.
On the final day of roster cuts, Dallas released Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci as they got closer to cementing their roster, essentially naming Cooper Rush the backup quarterback by default. Now, the Cowboys have a bit more insurance behind Dak Prescott creating a competition between Rush and Grier. Prior to the addition of Grier, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated Rush has a firm grip on the backup spot given his familiarity with the team’s offense.
“I think that you’ve got to assume that with his [Rush’s] knowledge of what we’re doing offensively, what we’re doing with the existing personnel that we’re going to be opening with,” Jones told Dallas’ 105.3 the Fan. “You got to assume, you’ve got a pretty high bar here, in terms of what’s the most effective way to play if you didn’t have Dak. Now, all of that said, it’s a high bar when you’ve got the background in it that Cooper’s got. So, we’ll see how that goes.”
Grier Was Selected by the Panthers in the 3rd Round of the 2019 NFL Draft
Grier is just two years removed from being selected by the Panthers in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft with the No. 100 overall selection. The quarterback had an accomplished career at West Virginia after transferring from Florida.
Grier threw for 3,864 yards, 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 67% of his passes during his senior season with the Mountaineers in 2018. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Grier ranked as his No. 5 quarterback prospect heading into the 2019 draft.
“A two-year starter at West Virginia, Grier was productive in Holgorsen’s version of the air-raid offense, which used up-tempo passing to set up the run,” Brugler detailed in his 2019 draft guide. “From suspension to transfer to marriage to fatherhood, Grier has experienced much more than most prospects and handled those situations well, giving NFL teams a glimpse of what type of professional he will be. He belongs in gambler’s anonymous with some of his prayers downfield, but he has a confident arm, quick feet and receiver-friendly touch. Overall, Grier struggles to identify/feel pressures and his inconsistent decision-making is a concern, but he is a natural rhythm passer and once he finds that rhythm, he can be deadly, projecting as a backup NFL quarterback worthy of competing for a starting job.”
The Addition of Grier Likely Signals the End of the Cowboys’ Interest in Newton
Grier has done little to cement himself as a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, but the Cowboys already have their franchise QB1 in Prescott. The quarterback started two games for the Panthers in 2019 posting a dismal 228 yards passing yards, four interceptions and zero touchdowns while completing 53.8% of his passes.
While the move does not officially eliminate Newton as a later option, the Cowboys are much closer to closing that door with Grier on the roster. NFL insider Josina Anderson reported the Cowboys were doing their “due diligence” on Newton shortly after he was released.
“My understanding is the Dallas Cowboys will do their due diligence in reviewing QB Cameron Newton’s newfound availability, per sources,” Anderson noted on Twitter. “Will look at it all across the board with additional talent hitting the market, including today.”
Grier Will Reunite with Former Florida OC Doug Nussmeier in Dallas
Cowboys quarterback coach Doug Nussmeier worked with Grier at Florida as the Gators offensive coordinator. During a 2015 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Grier praised Nussmeier’s attention to detail.
“I really like how Nussmeier is very hands-on,” Grier said at the time. “He does a really good job when we watch film and watch practice. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done it. I feel really comfortable with being a sponge as much as I can with him.”