Backup quarterback is one of the weirdest positions in all of sports. You want to have enough talent behind your starter that if he goes down the seasons isn’t a wash, but not enough talent that after every interception your fanbase is calling for the backup. It is a fine line to walk, and most teams opt to have an experienced veteran or young up-and-comer behind their number one guy.
For three years, the Dallas Cowboys have had Cooper Rush backing up Dak Prescott. Rush does not really fall into either category of experienced vet or promising up-and-comer. He has shown some signs of promise, particularly in the 2017 preseason where he threw for 398 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Cooper Rush again. 12/13 115 yards and 2 TD. Seriously. pic.twitter.com/Nz7CrSLa9X— Zach Berridge (@ZachBerridge) August 27, 2017
But the past two preseasons Rush has looked like, well, about what you would expect from a guy who has only completed one regular season pass in his NFL career. There have been some nice throws, and flashes of a capable quarterback, but not enough good compared to bad.
Really nice placement by Cooper Rush here. pic.twitter.com/bDGmyVLT72— Gino Zarrillo (@KeepItGino) August 18, 2019
Now it’s not fair to put all the blame on Rush. The Dallas backup offensive line has preformed very poorly the past two preseasons, making it extremely hard on Rush to succeed.
Still, the biggest question that remains with Rush is that if for some reason Prescott was to go down, can Rush keep the Cowboys afloat for a few weeks? The easy answer to that question is probably not. Dallas also has Clayton Thorson as their third quarterback on the roster, but the confidence he could go in and win you a game is likely even lower than Rush.
So the question to be asked is should Dallas bring in an experienced quarterback to compete with Rush and Thorson for the backup spot? With a new regime headed by Mike McCarthy in town, the possibility seems not extremely likely, but without a doubt more likely than it did when Jason Garrett was here. If Dallas does decide to bring in a veteran quarterback, here are two possible options who could make sense.
Back in 2007, Matt Moore started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys. After a good showing in the preseason, Dallas tried to get him through waivers to their practice squad, but he was ultimately picked up by the Carolina Panthers.
Since then, Moore has gone on to play 11 years in the NFL, and most recently backed up Patrick Mahomes for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Moore did see some action in the 2019 season when Mahomes missed two and a half games with a knee injury.
The veteran played extremely well in all three of the games he appeared in, completing 64% of his passes to go with 659 passing yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Moore showed he could still sling it, and led Kansas City to wins in two of the three games he played in.
Despite his impressive contributions, Moore will not be returning to Kansas City as they signed Chad Henne to a two-year deal to be their backup quarterback. So with Kansas City off the table, a reunion in Dallas for Matt Moore could make sense.
Moore would be a clear upgrade over Cooper Rush or Clayton Thorson. If you had Moore and he was forced to play in two or three games, he gives you a much better shot at winning at least two of those games than the other two quarterbacks do. It would give Dak Prescott someone in the quarterback room with vast experience to bounce things off.
With Moore being 35 years of age and just winning a Super Bowl, I can’t imagine the demands of his contract would be too large. Dallas probably could obtain him for a relatively team-friendly one- or two-year deal. Even if it costs a little more than Rush or Thorson do, it would be a clear upgrade in talent at the backup spot.
Another veteran option Dallas could pursue as as backup option is Mike Glennon. The 30-year-old played last season with the Oakland Raiders, and appeared in just two games, completing six of 10 passes for one touchdown.
Throughout his career Glennon has made a number of different stops. His next team with be his fifth in his seven-year NFL career. Despite his disappointing stint in Chicago, Glennon has still been a backup the past two seasons, and has preformed decently when being called into duty.
In the 2019 preseason Glennon did enough to impress Jon Gruden and the Raiders coaching staff to keep him on the roster as their backup. In Week Two of the preseason Glennon lit it up, completing 11 of 14 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Now when most people think about Mike Glennon, the bad comes to mind. Yes, he is not close to a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL and is a lower-tier option, but he has one thing Rush and Thorson lack, experience.
Glennon has started 22 and appeared in 29 games during the span of his career. He has thrown 36 touchdowns and 801 passes in the NFL. Rush and Thorson both have never thrown a touchdown pass in their NFL career.
If the Cowboys were to bring in Glennon, it would likely be a cheaper option than Moore, and would likely be on a deal where they have no real commitment to him. If he comes into camp and Rush or Thorson clearly outperform him, it would not be hard to cut ties with him.
Both Matt Moore and Mike Glennon have years of experience as a quarterback in the NFL. They both would give Dallas a better shot to win games if Dak Prescott went down than the current options on the Dallas’ roster. If the price is right, it makes sense to bring in a veteran quarterback for the first time in many years.