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What Cooper Rush’s return means for the Cowboys at QB in 2023

How much will Dallas focus on quarterback now that they have a full depth chart?

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Backup quarterback Cooper Rush has re-signed with the Cowboys for the next two seasons. With him, Dak Prescott, and Will Grier all under contract for 2023, Dallas would seem to have a full depth chart in place. What does that mean the rest of their offseason when it comes to the QB position?

Dallas’ top two passers for 2023 are clear. Prescott has a firm grip on the starting job, especially after another contract restructuring. Rush is returning to the tune of $2-$3 million per year in his new deal, with $2.75 million guaranteed for this season, which leaves little doubt on who QB2 will be.

Grier is also returning, at least for now, as a strong QB3 candidate. The former 2019 third-round pick was signed in 2021 and hasn’t been able to beat out Rush for the backup job. But he’s the only QB to join the organization since Mike McCarthy became head coach and could be a better fit with the offensive changes coming after Kellen Moore’s departure.

Does all this preclude the Cowboys from adding additional talent at quarterback this offseason? It likely ends their efforts in free agency, but what about the upcoming NFL draft?

Dallas has generally brought at least four passers to their training camp each year. We can expect them to add at least one more QB sometime over the next few months, and he will likely come either on Day 3 of the draft or from the undrafted rookie pool.

Could the Cowboys surprise us with a higher draft pick investment? With Will Grier’s contract having no dead money left, Dallas could painlessly discard him for a younger prospect if the right guy comes along. That rookie would get a year to learn behind Prescott and Rush and then perhaps be in a position to do more.

The second year of Rush’s new deal makes him very cuttable. With only $625k of dead money against a scheduled $2.88 million cap hit, Dallas could save money if a second-year QB prospect is ready to be Dak’s backup in 2024.

There’s also a possibility that the Cowboys could still be intrigued by former draft pick Ben DiNucci. Their former seventh-round pick is currently one of the hottest quarterbacks in the XFL. Could DiNucci’s success there lead to another NFL opportunity with his former team? The same coach who drafted him in 2020 is still here.

We also know that Dallas keeps an eye on QB prospects around the NFL. Back in 2019 around final cuts, they dumped Mike White in favor of an Eagles’ castoff Clayton Thorson. Who knows what 2023 draft prospects the Cowboys may keep track of even beyond April and May?

While Cooper Rush’s return solidifies the first two spots on Dallas’ QB depth chart in 2023, there is still a good opportunity beneath him. Will Grier has no claim on the job and even the backup role could be up for grabs next year. That means the Cowboys could still be very interested in quarterbacks, even in the middle rounds, in next month’s draft.

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