Cowboys QB Predicted to Sign with New Team in 2021

Mike McCarthy, Cowboys

Getty Mike McCarthy, Cowboys

Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys have a mutually beneficial relationship and both sides are aware of the arrangement. This was never going to be a long-term marriage, but rather a short-term fling.

Bleacher Report furthered that notion, placing Dalton amongst a recent list of top NFL free agents most likely to switch teams in 2021.

Via columnist Chris Roling:

Granted, Dalton’s run with Dallas hasn’t been great. He replaced the injured Dak Prescott, suffered a concussion on a hit that got Jon Bostic ejected and fined and then was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

In four games, he’s attempted just 85 passes and has one touchdown and three interceptions.

Teams in need of a veteran starter or quality competition aren’t going to judge Dalton’s Dallas tenure too harshly. He has a career 62 completion percentage with 205 touchdowns and 121 interceptions with four playoff appearances, making him one of the top veteran passers available.

Dallas, franchise quarterback already in hand with Prescott, won’t be able to convince him to stick around as a backup if and when other openings around the league emerge.

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The Plan All Along

The former longtime Cincinnati Bengals QB went public in May upon signing an incentivized one-year, $7 million contract, admitting he joined the Cowboys to rehab his value in advance of a prospective starting opportunity.

“I felt like it was the best opportunity for this year and hopefully it will set me up for my future,” Dalton said. “This was a big picture plan. … I feel like I have a lot of years left (in the NFL). I feel like there is a lot of good football left for me.”

Expected to hold a clipboard for franchise signal-caller Dak Prescott, Dalton instead was thrust into duty following Prescott’s season-ending injury. He made one full start — 34-of-54 for 266 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions against the Cardinals in Week 6 — before suffering a concussion and then landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Dalton is now cleared from both protocols and has regained his starting gig after Dallas temporarily turned to rookie Ben DiNucci (Week 8) and then-third-stringer Garrett Gilbert (Week 9).

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Dalton Practicing in Full

Dalton was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and impressed head coach Mike McCarthy with his decisiveness and ball placement — no small feats following the former’s brain injury.

“It’s great to have him back,” McCarthy said.

Dalton has an enticing matchup Sunday in Minnesota, facing a Vikings defense that ranks 27th against the pass (267.9 yards per game), 24th in total yards allowed (383.6 per game), and 23rd in scoring (27.4 points per game).

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL