Cowboys Make Quarterback Roster Moves Ahead of Showdown vs. Bengals

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks to the media at a press conference.

The Dallas Cowboys are officially going with the two other quarterbacks on their roster in Dak Prescott’s absence, at least for Week 2 versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Dallas announced several roster moves ahead of the Bengals matchup, including signing Cooper Rush to the 53-man roster and making Will Grier active from the team’s practice squad.

Rush will start in place of Prescott while Grier steps into the backup role against the Bengals. The roster moves gives the quarterbacks a little more solid footing as both players were released prior to Week 1 only to be re-signed by the Cowboys.

Dallas had been keeping both quarterbacks on the practice squad, and elevated Rush prior to the team’s season opener against Tampa Bay. Rush now officially has a permanent spot on the active roster with his new deal.

The Cowboys Do Not Plan to Trade for a Veteran Quarterback

After receiving positive news following Dak Prescott’s surgery, the Cowboys opted not to make an outside quarterback signing or trade for a veteran. Instead, Dallas plans to lean on Rush and Grier, who are both familiar with the offense.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Cowboys “do not plan to pursue [a] significant trade” for a quarterback. This likely eliminates Dallas from the Jimmy Garoppolo sweepstakes unless the team has a change of heart after Week 2.

“As of now, Cowboys do not plan to pursue significant trade for a QB barring [unforeseen] change, per source,” Fowler tweeted on September 13. “Cowboys won’t take any possibility completely off table, but with Dak Prescott’s improved timeline and Cooper Rush’s familiarity with offense, team feels it can be patient.”

Jones Shot Down the QB Trade Rumors

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones expressed skepticism that acquiring an outside quarterback would be helpful for the team in the short term given their unfamiliarity with the Dallas offense. Jones emphasized that the Cowboys do not have a quarterback trade “in the mill.”

“The people that are ready to play quarterback for us are the ones that played all preseason: Cooper Rush and [Will] Grier,” Jones detailed during a September 13 interview on 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan and RJ,” “They had a real competition. Grier got slowed there right at the end with a hamstring issue, but he should be through that now. So, we’ve gotten a lot of good snaps for those guys, both in our practice sessions as well as all the preseason games for the most part.

“Those guys know the offense well, have had a lot of reps in it and consequently give us our best shot. It’s unlikely since we don’t have any potential trade pending — not pending, but in the mill — it’s unlikely that you’d have a veteran quarterback that could get back in here and be ready to play as well as those guys can play, even if you thought you might have a talent advantage.”

McCarthy & Jones Painted Different Pictures on Possible QB Moves

This somewhat contradicted Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy insinuating a move in a press conference just one day prior. McCarthy revealed that the Cowboys were going through a list of available quarterbacks, but the optimism around Prescott’s return timeline likely prompted the Dallas front office to hold off on making a move.

“We’re working through it,” McCarthy said during his September 12 press conference. “Frankly, I just left [a meeting with] Jerry [Jones] and Will [McClay] and Stephen [Jones] have been working on it all morning. I’ve been in the meetings, I just left Will and Stephen. So, we’re having a number of discussions right now.

“We’ll look at those things [adding a veteran quarterback]. Like I answered earlier, we definitely anticipate making some roster moves, probably by [September 13].”