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Contracts for Prescott, Dalton Suggest Cowboys Will Keep 3rd QB in 2020

We’re getting into that time of year when NFL roster math is a big topic. It won’t be long before the Dallas Cowboys have to trim their roster down to 53 players, and one question is how many quarterbacks they will keep in 2020.

Dallas has gone different ways on this over the last several years. We’ve seen them keep just two; the clear starter and a trusted a veteran backup. We’ve also seen the Cowboys keep three QBs when the backup situation wasn’t clear, or they had a developmental guy they couldn’t risk losing.

Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton are the clear top two; that guaranteed starter and backup scenario. This would be bad news for roster-hopefuls Ben DiNucci and Clayton Thorson most seasons and may still prove to be their undoing in 2020.

But a big wrinkle here is that both Prescott and Dalton are only on one-year contracts this season. With both potentially becoming free agents in 2021, Dallas may be more inclined to hang on to and seriously develop one of their young prospects.

Sure, one of DiNucci or Thorson would likely land on the Cowboys’ practice squad if they don’t make the 53-man roster. And with the rule changes from the new collective bargaining agreement, they could even be active for games.

But that still leaves open the potential for other teams to poach them. And as we’ve seen through the years with guys like Matt Moore, Alex Tanney, or Cooper Rush, other teams will quickly swoop in if you leave even the slimmest potential of QB talent available.

Remember, Clayton Thorson was a 5th-round pick by the Eagles in 2019. The Cowboys did the swooping last year when Thorson didn’t make final cuts in Philly, deciding to switch to him for development over 2018 draft pick Mike White.

Ben DiNucci was taken in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft and could easily still be on other team’s radars. If Dallas leaves him vulnerable, they might lose him.

We’re not saying that the Cowboys would be willing to start either of these guys in 2021. They can still franchise Dak Prescott again if needed, or would likely look to free agency or the draft to fill a starting need at quarterback.

But there’s a good chance that Andy Dalton won’t be back, and having some kind of backup plan in place will be a priority for Dallas as they make roster decisions now. If they have even mild faith in one of their young prospects this year, the future uncertainty at QB could help Ben DiNucci or Clayton Thorson make the roster in 2020.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. “The Cowboys could still franchise Prescott again if needed”–Um, HOW? Dallas DOESN’T have the cap space to give Prescott another franchise tag (which will be BIGGER next year–I’ve read around $37M), and with the cap projected to SHRINK because of the virus, I don’t see how a second tag is going to be possible!

  2. I wanna see nooch get some snaps. Watching him play in college is like watching a poor man’s patrick mahomes sling the ball from different arm angles. Flat foot throws that are on a rope.

  3. To address Robert. If you think they cant afford 37 next year, hows a 4 year 40 mil. a year deal going to be made. Daks on a prove it year to show 2019 wasn’t a fluke, because 3 out of his 4 years he was a 3400 yard and 23 touchdown guy, he added stats with his legs, but I think they’re looking for someone to put up 26-27 TDs and around 3800 yards. Someone they dont have to hope will add the numbers with thier running/less injury risk.

  4. Dinucci looks promising. I see a combination comparison between Aaron Rodgers, a little Patrick mahomes and some Johnny manziel splashed in.

  5. I cannot believe that Dallas got this deep into the off season with this question still unanswered. There has been a boatload of talent in the market that worked in their favor. I don’t get it.

  6. Well if the cap shrinks I guess these greedy players can play for a lesser amount or go find a real job. I honestly hope all pro sports teams go broke and these guys have to find real jobs they are way over paid to play a game. Why would you turn down 100 million guaranteed money if not greed

    • The disagreement isn’t about money it’s about number a years on the contract. these players make the kind of money they make because only a small percentage of the people on the planet can do what they do. You need to read more.

  7. Have watched every game since Eddie Labaron was qb and have learned one man does not make a team .It takes guys with heart to win and not money. Trade guys that disrupt teams and get guys that want to win . Fans are sick of players who want to break the BANK and only think of themselves .TRADE EM!!!!

    .

  8. Get rid of Dak he is garbage, 8-8 in a contract year can’t win the big games guy is not the future, Ben is the future, laugh now just like everyone laughed at Romo.

  9. How many times has Prescott leaded the Cowboys to victory against big time competition!! I see him getting traded for a first or top 2nd round pick than Cowboys can package picks for a top quarterback in coming draft!!

  10. We should definitely trade Dak to a team that is going to get 1 of the top picks & hopefully package something together to try & land Trevor Lawrence.

    I want to see him traded this year to possibly land Joe Burrow.

    Dak has been horrible in pressure games as well as against winning teams.

    He padded his stats against horrible teams! He just seems to be another Romo that will never win big games m, however clearly not half as good as Romo!

    We could bring Troy out of the booth & he would win another 3 rings with this offense or Romo & he would surely win 1 or 2.

    Dak is horrible & worth $20-$25 at the most!

    So, trade Dak & keep Dalton until we get a true franchise QB.

    Remember Dalton had nothing even close to what the cowboys have in Cincinnati!

    He may end up being a great QB with this offense!

    Or even get Rodgers since Green Bay has love, Rodgers is up in age but good for another 3 years, imagine what he could do with this offense.

    Whatever it is we MUST move on from Dak!

  11. REALLY ! Mahome didn’t even start his rookie year so why in the hell do you think the Cowboys can package draft picks in 2021 for a starting rookie QB1. To complicate that situation more so is if the team live up to their potentials this season the odds are they’ll be picking very, very low in the draft. There goes your ingenious idea. They would have to give up the whole damn ship in order to climb within the top 5 in the draf. That’s where you get your rookie QB1.

  12. The cowboys are set with what they have applied and it’s the right way on the DONE DEAL IVE BEEN a cowboy fanatic SENSE the age of 7 and IM 54 years old. And if dak don’t do dalton will hands down

  13. Since Dak is signed for this season then we might as well let him play out this season and let him go at the end of it! Start grooming this year’s rookie and throw him in there, with the offense around him he cannot fail with proper coaching! We don’t need to tank or hope for another low draft pick or whatever because he’s already a cowboy and I’m talking about our next quarterback. Keep Dalton around next year to back up the kid and to field coach him! Prescott has proven nothing and yet he wants a contract as big as Zekes head! That was another head scratcher to pay so much! I live in Maryland just outside of Washington DC and have been a cowboy fan since I was a kid and there’s nothing better than the Cowboys winning and the Redskins losing for me on Monday mornings around here. I’d like to see that continue with the young kid!!

  14. Bottom no pro athlete is worth what they are being paid to play games we loved to play as kids for free . Max pay maybe 1 million a year max .If not suitable go find a job that pays more . GOOD LUCK BOYS !!

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