Friday, January 22, 2021

Cowboys sign Andy Dalton to 1-year deal

Former Cincinnati Bengals starter Andy Dalton has signed a 1-year $3 million contract to be the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback in 2020. Dalton started 133 games in his nine years with the Bengals, finishing with a 70-61-2 record.

Dalton will likely serve as clipboard holder for Dak Prescott in the 2020 season, assuming the four-year starter signs his franchise tag, or the two parties can agree on a long-term deal.

Andy Dalton is solid if not spectacular

The Bengals made the decision to cut Dalton after drafting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and finding the trade market non-existent. Dalton had one year remaining on a 6-year $96 million deal he signed back in 2014. He would go on to win just 30 of 69 games after signing the deal.

Dalton led the Bengals to the post season in his first four seasons, but lost in all four games, throwing six interceptions and just one touchdown pass, and topped 300 yards just the once.

He led the Bengals to a winning record in each of his first five seasons but has failed to win more than seven games in a season since, going 2-11 as a starter last season. Over his time in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton completed 62.0% of his 4,449 passes, for 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions.

While contract talks have dragged on with Dak Prescott, there is no reason to believe that Dalton has been brought in to challenge for the starter role. However, it should be noted that the deal includes incentives that could see it rise to $7 million if Dalton ends up being the starter and meeting incentives per Adam Schefter.

The signing of Andy Dalton clearly gives the Cowboys an insurance policy in the event talks with Dak do not go well. While Dalton would be a good enough stop-gap measure, he would be a major downgrade at the quarterback position.

Andy Dalton will make a good backup to Dak Prescott & copy; Patrick Smith
Andy Dalton will make a good backup to Dak Prescott & copy; Patrick Smith

Having shored up the skill position players around the QB this offseason it would be a major miscalculation if Dalton were to end up having to start because of contract negotiations with Prescott in what is expected to be a competitive season for the Cowboys under new head coach Mike McCarthy.

The Dalton signing brings into doubt the future of last year’s backup Cooper Rush, who signed a $2.133 million one-year original round tender on March 12th. It is expected he will be traded or released. Given the current market, it is highly unlikely there would be any trade market for the form undrafted quarterback out of Central Michigan.

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