This past Saturday night the Dallas Cowboys picked up some attention from across the NFL world when it was reported that they were set to sign free agent quarterback Andy Dalton.
Dalton was released by the Cincinnati Bengals last week, shortly after they took LSU’s Joe Burrow with the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. We have talked extensively since the Dalton news dropped about how there is a lot to like about this move from the Cowboys, and how it says a lot about where the team is at this moment.
We knew the general parameters of the Dalton contract, but now we have further details.
The details of Andy Dalton’s contract
Obviously the Cowboys believe in Andy Dalton as Dak Prescott’s backup, but the contractual terms intrigued many. It was reported that Dalton was signing a one-year deal with the Cowboys with $3M but that it could potentially be worth up to $7M. We all wondered how he could acquire that extra $4M.
The incentives that would boost Dalton to $7M are tied to playing time which means that if things move forward as they normally have, he will only make $3M with the Cowboys. This is an enormous steal by the front office.
The #Cowboys waived QB Cooper Rush & officially signed backup QB Andy Dalton to his 1-year, $3M deal. His $4M available in incentives are broken up into regular season playing time, making the playoffs & playing time in the playoffs. If he simply backs up 16 games, he makes $3M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 4, 2020
Andy Dalton is an incredibly serviceable backup in today’s NFL so even if he somehow met the playing time criteria and made the maximum amount here (obviously that would only occur in place of an injured Dak Prescott), that is still a bargain price to pay for someone of his caliber and experience. To know that in all likelihood that he will only make $3M and to have that quality in the event of an emergency is an impressive job by the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys have reportedly waived quarterback Cooper Rush
We also discussed what Dalton’s presence on the team could mean for the quarterback room as a whole. Dak Prescott is the team’s unquestioned starter, and Ben DiNucci, who you can hear on the latest episode of Girls Talkin ‘Boys, is Mike McCarthy’s new project (not the one he worked on over the last year!). This left Rush as the clear odd man out.
Not even 48 hours after the Dalton news emerged the other proverbial shoe dropped. On Monday morning, it was also reported that the Dallas Cowboys are waiving quarterback Cooper Rush.
The Cowboys have waived QB Cooper Rush and officially signed Andy Dalton.— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) May 4, 2020
Rush joined the Cowboys after going undrafted in 2017 and has been the primary backup to Dak Prescott since then. Cooper did something that at the time seemed impossible in that he made then-quarterback Kellen Moore’s roster spot expendable. In some ways Cooper Rush is largely responsible for Moore’s path towards coaching being expedited.
As Dak Prescott has never missed a game in his NFL career the opportunities just have not been there for Rush to get legitimate NFL playing time. He was a restricted free agent this offseason and while he signed the tender that the Cowboys gave him it really was just a matter of time that they would part ways after the Dalton news became official.
All the best to Cooper Rush moving forward.