Since the Dallas Cowboys 2022 season ended in postseason disappointment, it’s easy to forget the grind that it was for this team to post a 12-5 record and qualify for the postseason in the first place. Despite posting 12 wins for their second consecutive season, one could make the case that the path to that mark was more arduous than the season before. The departure of La’el Collins and Randy Gregory complicated matters in the trenches. Plus, who could also forget the season-long problem area that was receiving corps, exacerbated by the trade of Amari Cooper and the extended absence of Michael Gallup? However, without question, the biggest obstacle of last year was the injury of Dak Prescott in the season opener that threatened to essentially end the Cowboys’ season before it started.
Thankfully, that crisis was averted as the team managed to find consistency and perhaps the unsung hero of the Cowboys’ 2022 season is Cooper Rush. Rush started five games in Prescott’s absence and guided them to four wins in those starts. Rush wasn’t the driving force of the offense, but he didn’t commit many turnovers and was willing to take chances down the field. Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys in 2017, last season was the most extended playing time Rush has had in his career up until this point. Slated to be an unrestricted free agent, Rush may have earned himself a bigger paycheck. Let’s predict Rush’s potential suitors ahead of free agency.
1. The Los Angeles Chargers
Rush and the Chargers would make a lot of sense for a few different reasons. First, Rush has a longtime familiarity with former Cowboys and current Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, dating back to Rush’s rookie season when Moore was also a backup quarterback behind Dak Prescott. Rush’s prior understanding of Moore’s system would make him the ideal backup in the event Justin Herbert missed any time on the field. Currently, the Chargers’ backup quarterback, Chase Daniel, is 36 years old and set to also become a free agent.
Signing a younger backup with prior experience in what Kellen Moore likes to do and his terminology would make a fitting reunion between the two in Southern California. Rush could also see Los Angeles as a good short-term interim situation to showcase his talents once more if given playing time. He’ll have a lot more talented weapons at his disposal than he did last year if he gets to play.
2. Washington Commanders
The NFL currently is littered with teams that need a quarterback. The Las Vegas Raiders, the Houston Texans, and the Atlanta Falcons are all teams that need a refresh at starting quarterback. However, a team that probably will be more aggressive and drive the market are the Washington Commanders. The Commanders have struggled to find consistent quarterback play for what feels like an eternity, with arguably their last good quarterback being Kirk Cousins.
Cooper Rush. CeeDee Lamb. Touchdown, @dallascowboys! ⭐️— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2022
: #WASvsDAL on FOX
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Last season the Commanders and head coach Ron Rivera rolled the dice on Carson Wentz for a hefty price of a $28M salary and their gamble came up snake eyes. The quarterback committee of Wentz and Tayor Heinicke delivered middling results and neither cemented themselves as firm options for the near future.
Washington has gotten an up-close look at Rush with him having posted a stat line of 293 yards, 3 TDs, and a passer rating of 119.4 in his games against them. This may appear to be far-fetched but the Commanders have never been shy about signing a quarterback from a division rival. A few examples of such are Donovan McNabb, Mark Sanchez, and the previously mentioned Wentz. Rush to Washington may be a situation where he could compete with last year’s fourth-round rookie, Sam Howell, for playing time.
3. Dallas Cowboys
You can’t keep a good guy down. Having played for much of his career with the Cowboys, Rush has seemingly always competed to keep his job as the backup in Dallas. Last year’s performance should have affirmed Rush as a serviceable backup for America’s Team. If his market doesn’t heat up and there are few takers for Rush, then what? As they say, there’s no place like home, and staying put might be in his best interest.
CEEDEE LAMB ONE-HANDED FOR THE LEAD @_CeeDeeThree— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2022
: #DALvsNYG on ESPN/ABC
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Rush has played in Dallas for a large chunk of his career and has endured three different offensive coordinators, the latest of whom will be Brian Schottenheimer. However, if head coach Mike McCarthy is calling plays it would behoove him to entrust someone he knows in his first season doing so in Dallas. Rush is approaching nearly 30 years old and the likelihood of a substantially long-term contract are slim.
Rush staying in the Metroplex has a strong chance of happening. Also, owner Jerry Jones has been on record showering Rush for his performance while playing in Prescott’s absence. A Rush re-up wouldn’t be out of the question.