When the Dallas Cowboys decide their 53-man roster this year, some cuts will be very tough. Right now we assume the team will keep three quarterbacks, but could the growth of starter Dak Prescott lead to one of their other prospects losing his spot?
With Prescott’s starting job not being threatened, the need to keep three quarterbacks on the roster is up for debate. Cooper Rush and rookie Mike White are both intriguing, but are they both worth keeping if it means losing talent at another position?
If Dak has a great camp and preseason, that debate heats up even more. Not only are you increasingly confident in your young starter, but so far he’s shown himself to be very durable. You’d essentially be stashing that third QB for security only, with little chance of getting anything from him during the season.
The Cowboys have often gone with just two quarterbacks during the Tony Romo era. It was usually Romo, the clear starter, and then a veteran backup such as Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, or Kyle Orton.
Neither Rush or White are experienced vets, of course. That may be good enough reason to keep both.
Even by drafting White this year, considering Rush was already here, Dallas seems to have shifted philosophies about their QB depth. It appears they want to move to having more of a pipeline of talent at the position, similar to what we’ve seen from the New England Patriots.
But even if that’s their intention, tough decisions still lie ahead. They will still have to look at Rush or White, and the prospect of that guy spending all season in street clothes, compared to cutting someone else who might be more useful in 2018.
When that time comes, will the front office stick to their new mentality or get pushed back into old habit?
If that happens, things get sticky for Cooper Rush. Even with the extra season under his belt, he doesn’t have a four-year rookie contract like Mike White. He also wasn’t a draft pick like White, who Dallas took in the fifth round this year.
This question could come up even without a big surge from Dak Prescott. It may come down to pure roster math and value across all positions.
But if Dak has a strong August, leaving no doubt as to his readiness for 2018 and beyond, then the Cowboys might start rethinking how much QB talent they need on the roster.
It’s just another of the many hypotheticals to play with as we move closer to final cuts.