How Andy Dalton solidifies the quarterback position on the Dallas Cowboys

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: Andy Dalton #14 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: Andy Dalton #14 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys addressed a longstanding deficiency in their roster by acquiring longtime Cincinnati quarterback, Andy Dalton.

My phone started dinging and buzzing early Saturday evening. I was in the middle of an extended PS4 golf session, so I didn’t pick it up right away. But when I did, I was greeted with some pleasantly surprising news. The Dallas Cowboys had signed veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. This sparked more than a few positive texts and discussions within my immediate circle. The consensus was overwhelmingly in favor of the move.

And seriously, what’s not to like about it? The contract was reported to be worth $7 million with $3 million guaranteed. That’s a pittance for a quality backup, especially for a player of Dalton’s caliber. What you have is a de facto starter if incumbent Dak Prescott is otherwise unavailable. Couple that with new head coach Mike McCarthy, and what you have is a modest embarrassment of riches, especially considering the backup situation since Tony Romo departed.

There’s also the full-circle aspect of Dalton coming back to Texas. He is from Katy. His roots are firmly planted in this state’s schoolboy lore. He led Katy High School to the state finals in 2005 before losing to Southlake Caroll. He then attended TCU and enjoyed a pretty spectacular college career. That culminated in a legendary Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin that Stewart Mandel chronicled here in 2011. I’d forgotten that TCU finished #2 in the AP Poll that year. That squad was a 13-0 powerhouse that ended up proving themselves every step of the way.

While Dalton’s professional career has been a mixed bag, one has to consider where he’s played for his entire NFL life to this point. Sure, I’m critical of the Cowboys more often than not in this space, but they’ve got nothing on the general clown show in Cincinnati. Through that, Andy Dalton managed a respectable 70-61-2 record as a regular season starter. He also posted a career passer rating of 87.5.

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What I’m getting at is that you could do way worse. I know. A lot of you know. We’ve been clutching our pearls about the scene at backup quarterback for a while now. The Cowboys’ general philosophy at QB2 in recent years has been “Let’s hope Dak doesn’t get hurt.” As we all know, in NFL football, hope isn’t a viable strategy. So the signing of Dalton has to be looked upon as a major upgrade over any other option currently on the roster. This also seems to speak to Mike McCarthy’s influence on the day-to-day operations at The Star. If he’s getting a major say in personnel, then this at least portends a return to the Bill Parcells era, in which a head coach gets to, you know, be a head coach.

Above and beyond all else, Dalton provides some theoretical peace of mind. Of course, these opinions come from a place where he hasn’t taken a snap of live NFL action in a Cowboys’ uniform. We would still have to go through a scenario in which–once NFL football finally starts–Dak Prescott got hurt for extended time, and then discover whether or not Andy Dalton could steer the ship in the interim. It’s all unknown, obviously, but I still feel way better about it than Cooper Rush having to fill in.

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Between the draft and the acquisition of Dalton, I haven’t been used to coming on here in consecutive weeks and crowing about this football team. It’s maddening that it took a season like last year’s to get to this point. But it’s also encouraging to see the Dallas Cowboys make the moves they have in the past ten days. On paper at least, the improvement of this team is palpable.

  • Published on 05/04/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 05/04/2020 at 06:22 AM