clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cowboys quarterbacks populating many “best of” free agent lists

Cowboys free agent quarterbacks are sought for different reasons.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: OCT 11 Giants at Cowboys Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Early on in this 2020 offseason cycle, there were plenty of top free agent lists published. Many of those lists included Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott as the very best free agent available. You can see a few examples here and here. Obviously the hope is that Prescott never actually reaches true free agency because the Cowboys sign him to a long-term deal. Barring that, they are at least expected to franchise tag him by March 9th and then continue working on a deal.

Dak Prescott topping free agent lists was expected, but the Cowboys backup quarterback in 2020, Andy Dalton, also finds himself on a top free agent list. This one is the top bargain free agents at each position. Dalton tops the “bargain quarterback” free agents.

One offseason ago, Andy Dalton quickly settled on the Dallas Cowboys as his destination after being cut by the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a shrewd move that could have given him the chance to prove himself on a strong team as Dak Prescott’s backup.

The plan didn’t unfold as expected though. Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury, but the first year of a new coaching staff produced an implosion, especially on defense. Dalton was concussed in Week 7 and was then held out until Week 11 after testing positive for COVID-19. He never gained his footing en route to just 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions over 11 appearances.

Dalton simply isn’t going to outshine a market that includes Prescott, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston and even Jacoby Brissett. But he is a notable veteran with a long-running winning record and playoff experience under his belt.

That means that while he might not get a guaranteed starting shot, Dalton probably lands somewhere he can play the mentor role and compete for the job with a QB-needy team.

Best fit: Denver Broncos

It’s unlikely that Dalton will return to Dallas. As noted above, Dalton will likely get a chance to compete for a starting job on a team that is looking for a bridge quarterback to carry them while they are getting a young rookie ready to go. Or he may be replacing an under-performing veteran while the team decides on future moves.

Either way, the Cowboys are probably going to need a new backup quarterback to Prescott. One candidate is already on the team, Garrett Gilbert. He is under contract for 2021 at just under $1 million so he represents a small hit against the salary cap. His one game in 2020 was almost an upset of the then undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Gilbert was 21 for 38 on the day for 243 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

So that brings us to our question of the day. Should the Cowboys roll with Gilbert as their primary backup in 2021, or do they need to go out and sign a veteran?

Poll

Who should be the Cowboys primary backup QB in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Garrett Gilbert
    (1057 votes)
  • 26%
    An unnamed veteran
    (380 votes)
1437 votes total Vote Now