The Dallas Cowboys have had a bit of an emotional time with quarterbacks over the last few season.
Everyone knows why 2016 got awkward, but 2017 was difficult in a different sort of way. Last year the Cowboys went into training camp wit Dak Prescott as the cemented starter and Kellen Moore (who they loved/still love as a coach) as his backup.
It got complicated because of an undrafted free agent named Cooper Rush. Cooper fought his way through camp and impressed throughout the preseason so much that the Cowboys couldn’t risk releasing him for fear of him being poached.
Dallas ultimately kept Cooper on their 53-man roster and maneuvered things in a way that kept Kellen around for a bit before they ultimately left him on the practice squad for his final season before becoming the team’s quarterbacks coach. In another twist, Kellen’s first draft as a quarterback’s coach gives the team another third quarterback that they seemingly love.
Western Kentucky’s Mike White, taken in the fifth round, is the third leg of the quarterback tripod. Prescott is the unquestioned starter, but for all we know White will win a battle against Rush for the right to back him up. What will Dallas do with the other, though?
It’s possible that the Cowboys could look to trade Cooper Rush down the road. Just last year the Buffalo Bills traded quarterback Cardale Jones (who they took in the fourth round the season prior) to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for a 2018 seventh-round pick.
Right before last season began the Indianapolis Colts sent former first-round receiver Phillip Dorsett (2015) to the New England Patriots in exchange for quarterback Jacoby Brisett who the Pats had taken the round before Buffalo took Cardale in 2016.
If and when the time comes, the Cowboys would be wise to cash Cooper Rush, or maybe Mike White, in for a draft pick or role player they believe could help them, but will that time come in 2018?
When the Cowboys 53-man roster originally came out last season, they only carried two quarterbacks in Prescott and Rush (they initially cut Moore to make room for Rico Gathers and ultimately brought Moore back). Part of this was due to them going deep elsewhere on offense: four running backs, four tight ends, and six receivers.
As of now four running backs seems probably again (especially with Tavon Austin counting as one), but with Jason Witten and Dez Bryant gone, we could see Dallas going lighter at the other two spots.
There is certainly logic to trading away Cooper Rush if Mike White does prosper throughout camp as many people believe/hope that he will; however, the unbeatable retort to that is that you never get rid of a quarterback that you believe can play until you have to.
Dallas has Cooper Rush on the cheap through 2019. Mike White’s rookie deal runs through 2021. The team will likely extend Dak Prescott next offseason, and it would serve them well to have cheap options behind him in the event of competition or emergency.
So while it might make sense to deal away Cooper, the Cowboys would be best served to wait until they’re forced to make a decision on that as opposed to getting ahead of the curve on that. The situations aren’t identical by any means, but they’d be wise to treat the situation as the New England Patriots did with Jimmy Garropolo. Hold on as long as possible.
Logic says that three quarterbacks makes sense in 2018. Let’s see if logic holds up.