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Cowboys’ Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options

The Dallas Cowboys thought they were set at the backup quarterback position with Kellen Moore, but an unfortunate injury now has the organization examining all their options for the right player to back up Tony Romo in 2016.

The Cowboys tried to bring in Nick Foles, but he decided to rejoin an Andy Reid coached team in the Kansas City Chiefs. They then tried to work out a trade with the Cleveland Browns for veteran quarterback Josh McCown, but the Browns were wanting an arm and a leg in return.

With the failure to bring in their top two choices, the Dallas Cowboys decided to see what they have in Jameill Showers and Dak Prescott. But don't for a second think that they are not looking at all of the options outside of the organization.

In fact, I think they're going to let Showers and Prescott play the first two preseason games and then possibly look at adding a veteran QB if they don't like what they see.

I for one am against giving way tradable assets for a backup QB or draft picks for that matter, so I decided to take a look at available quarterbacks that could be brought in relatively cheaply.

Here are some of the players that could be of interest to the Dallas Cowboys, and no Johnny Manziel or Tim Tebow are absolutely not on this list if you were wondering.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options 2TJ Yates

TJ Yates is personally one of my favorite available free agent quarterbacks. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that he is the one that I am the most familiar with having seen firsthand what he was able to accomplish with the Houston Texans when called upon.

Did you know as a rookie he led the Houston Texans to their first ever playoff win against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012?

Since then, he's pretty much been regulated to backup duty with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 and once again for a second time with the Texans in 2015. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL injury in December of the 2015 season, which could explain his availability.

A healthy TJ Yates could be an intriguing backup QB option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options 3Michael Vick

I have already seen outcries that the Dallas Cowboys should bring in Michael Vick to be the insurance policy in case Tony Romo is once again injured.

It's pretty understandable that the most recognizable name among available quarterbacks gets linked to the Cowboys. It happens just about every time a well-known player is released or looking for work, but Michael Vick actually makes sense in a way.

He served admirably as Ben Roethlisberger's backup in 2015 and could do the same thing for the Cowboys as well. He has experience in the NFC East division and probably still has enough left in the tank to get the job done.

Personally, I'm a little indifferent as to whether or not I think Michael Vick would be a good backup QB for the Dallas Cowboys, but I would be on board with whatever decision they made.

Charlie WhitehurstCowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options 4

Charlie Whitehurst might just be the best looking available QB, which is why he is probably the arm candy of Grammy Award winning singer  Jewel.

He is familiar with playing a backup role having done so pretty much his entire NFL career. He has served as a backup QB for the Chargers twice, Seahawks, Titans, and most recently with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015.

Whitehurst spent the majority of his career as a member of the San Diego Chargers in Norv Turner's offense, so he would be familiar with the system that the Dallas Cowboys use offensively.

Whitehurst's familiarity with the Cowboys offensive scheme make him someone the Dallas Cowboys could look at to secure that backup QB position behind Tony Romo.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options 6Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson has served as Russell Wilson's backup quarterback in Seattle for the past three seasons, but an assault with a deadly weapon allocation against him could keep them off of the Dallas Cowboys radar.

I personally think the Cowboys have been reflected negatively in the media enough for bringing in players with troubled pasts, so I don't think Jackson will be worth the media headache he would bring to the organization.

Nevertheless, he is available and could probably be had on a cheap one year deal if the Dallas Cowboys deem him suitable as a backup QB.

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys' Available Free Agent Backup Quarterback Options 7Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn has been a backup QB for nearly his entire NFL career, much like all the other players on this list.

Flynn has been a member of several teams in the NFL in some sort of capacity. He has been with the Packers twice, Seahawks, Raiders, Bills, Patriots, Jets, and the New Orleans Saints.

He did however get a chance to be the starter for the Seattle Seahawks, but was ultimately beaten out by Russell Wilson in his rookie season.

Flynn is a born and raised Texan, so he would probably welcome a return to his home state. Unfortunately for him, he is probably not sitting near the top of the Cowboys list of backup quarterbacks.

Do any of these backup QB's sound like good options for the Dallas Cowboys?

Now, you can probably understand why the Cowboys organization is willing to take the wait-and-see approach, while evaluating both Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers.

Please feel free to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the possibility of adding any of these quarterbacks. Or share with all of us who you would like to see the Dallas Cowboys add to back up Tony Romo.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ameri Guy

    August 10, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Never ever Vick the dog Killer! Evil man.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      August 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Ameri Guy, Michael Vick is definitely not somebody I would personally choose to become Tony Romo's backup. I would rather go with Showers or Prescott.

  2. George Johnson

    August 10, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Based on what little I know, Charlie Whitehurst might be the right choice. If he knows the Dallas offense as you say he should be able to quickly get up to speed and learn the Dallas play calling language. Having worked and played in the offense is also an advantage. One of the things S Linehan said about K Moore is that he did not have to change much up if K Moore has to come in for T Romo. He said with a lot of QBs that might be available, he would have to simplify the offense. This is also why I think S Linehan will prefer a veteran QB like C Whitehurst over Showers and Prescott. For them he would have to simplify the offense based on what he said.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      August 10, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for coming George. I agree that Whitehurst might just be on the short list of options for the Cowboys. I think it will ultimately depend on how well Showers and Prescott perform in the preseason though. If they perform well, I think the Cowboys might just stick with their young QBs.

  3. Greg Ivy

    August 10, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I think Showers ,given the chance could fill in for Romo and possibly be a future starter in the NFL. Romo would not have had the chance either except circumstances left the Cowboys with no other options and Bill at the helm recognized his competitiveness . Be patient and see what happens in preseason. .

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      August 10, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Greg. We both seem to be along the same line of thinking. I really want to see what Showers is able to do in the preseason.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Offseason: Projecting Dak Prescott’s Extension

John Williams

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QB Dak Prescott Switches Agents Prior to Crucial 2018 Season 1

This week, Spotrac.com, who analyzes the salary cap, player performance, and makes projections for future contracts, released their most recent contract valuations for the big name Dallas Cowboys who will be approaching the offseason looking for a new contract. Between, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys will have a lot of negotiating going on this offseason and will be handing out some big bucks.

Obviously, the one that we're most concerned about here in Cowboys Nation is what the Dallas Cowboys front office is going to do with Dak Prescott. Many fans and pundits aren't sold on Dak Prescott as a franchise quarterback, but he is a franchise quarterback and he's about to get paid like one.

Brace yourselves. 

Spotrac on Twitter

Updated Baseline Market Valuations for notable #Cowboys heading into 2019 Dak Prescott: $25.2M https://t.co/ShnCWjIJOM DeMarcus Lawrence: $19.6M https://t.co/3pekUoiVjQ Amari Cooper: $16.7M https://t.co/vPymDSdEeU Zeke Elliott: $9.4M https://t.co/mtFxTap892

Over The Cap is projecting the 2019 salary cap to be around $190 million this season, which would put Dak Prescott's projected salary figure of $25.2 million at around 13.2% of this season's salary cap. And percentage of the cap is the more important number to look at when judging Dak Prescott's figure. When Russell Wilson signed his four-year extension in 2015 that averaged out at $21.9 million per year, his contract took up 15.3% of the salary cap when signed. So yes, in total dollars, Prescott's salary will be higher, but in percent of the cap it will be lower. If you give Dak Prescott 15.3% of the projected 2019 salary cap, you’re looking at $29.07 million per year.

When Spotrac does their salary projections they attempt to find quarterbacks who have had similar careers to the player and use those players as a gauge for what the projection might be, including adjustments for the market rate for the position and the growing salary cap. So, Spotrac has Dak Prescott's career thus far comparable to Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton. Below, you can see the contract numbers for those players that Dak Prescott compares to and the age when they signed their deals.

That's an interesting mix of players.

What will a Dak Prescott Contract Extension Look Like

Let's also take a look at the top six quarterback contracts in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys Offseason: Projection Dak Prescott's ExtensionLet's start first with Derek Carr, who has the sixth highest average annual pay rate at just over $25 million per year. He signed his deal two years ago in the 2017 offseason. Another contract I like to look at when attempting to figure Prescott's number is Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo got his deal from the San Francisco 49ers after only seven NFL starts (two with New England Patriots and five with the 49ers). His contract made him the fourth highest paid quarterback at $27.5 million per year. Again, after only seven NFL Starts.

Dak Prescott has 48 starts in the NFL regular season, and a career passer rating of 96. Of the top six quarterback contracts listed above, only Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo have a higher career passer rating than Dak Prescott. If you look at the top 10 quarterback contracts in the NFL now, only Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Jimmy Garoppolo have a higher career passer rating than Dak Prescott. You can argue that Prescott's teams have had more success than Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, and Derek Carr in his first three seasons. While QB Wins is not a stat that we should use to evaluate quarterback play, because you’re paying not only the production of Dak Prescott, but also the intangibles if Dak Prescott, you have to look at the wins.

The Dallas Cowboys have gone 32-16 in the regular season with Dak Prescott at quarterback and 1-2 with him in the playoffs. That, in only three years in the NFL. He's going to get better as a player. Even if you don't look at QB Wins, Dak Prescott has been as productive as those guys he's mentioned with, aside from Brees and Rodgers.

John Williams ✭ on Twitter

Dak Prescott's body of work as a 3-year starter is franchise QB level stuff. As @Marcus_Mosher pointed out on the @lockedoncowboys Podcast, Dak's last 15 games 4,100 total yards, 30 total TDs, 7 INTs. Y'all don't want to pay that? #CowboysNation

These comparisons below look at the two years before the quarterback signing their franchise quarterback contract. Here you see that Dak compares favorably to Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and Kirk Cousins.

What will a Dak Prescott Contract Extension Look Like 1

 

As you can see above, over the last two years, Dak Prescott's averaged more passing yards per game, nearly as many touchdowns per game, fewer interceptions per game, and a comparable passer rating to Newton and Wilson in the two years before they signed their big contract extensions. His completion percentage That doesn't consider his play during the 2016 season in which he won rookie of the year as the starting quarterback for a team that went 13-3.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Derek Carr became the highest-paid player in NFL History after his third season. He signed a five-year, $125M extension. Here's his first three seasons next to Dak Prescott's.

RJ Ochoa, formerly of Inside The Star and now of Blogging the Boys, provided a nice comparison between Derek Carr and Dak Prescott in their first seasons in the NFL. When Derek Carr signed his contract, he became the highest paid player in NFL history.

The projection provided by Spotrac of $25.2 million is the floor as it would be just above Derek Carr's contract that he signed 2 years ago. It's entirely possible that Prescott signs a contract for more than Matt Ryan and could potentially become the highest paid quarterback in the NFL,  but I'm going to estimate that Dak Prescott receives a five-year deal for $145 million, which would give him $29 million per year.

Jerry Jones has been adamant over the course of the season about his desire to get a long-term contract done with Dak in the offseason. Jerry Jones is the owner and the general manager, so it's only a matter of time before Dak's representatives and the Cowboys front office hammers out the final numbers. Dak Prescott is going to get a big deal and bigger than many in Cowboys Nation want to give him. But the going rate for franchise quarterbacks in the NFL is that number that Jimmy Garoppolo signed.

More Salary Cap and Contract discussion here at Inside The Star

2019 Offseason Cap Casualties

2019 Dead Money Relief

Cowboys 2019 Cap Space: Who Stands to Gain the Most?

 



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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman

The theme of last year's offseason in Dallas was coaching changes below HC Jason Garrett, OC Scott Linehan, and DC Rod Marinelli, and not yet through a week of this offseason it appears to be the same now. The Cowboys today have moved on from Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman.

Like current ST Coordinator Keith O'Quinn, Colman was in his first season with the Cowboys. The former sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska held the same position with the Houston Texans for four previous seasons.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Small change on the #Cowboys coaching staff, as assistant special teams coach Doug Colman is out, source said. The only known change at this point.

With O'Quinn filling perhaps the biggest shoes left behind from last year, when Rich Bisaccia left the Cowboys after five seasons, the team has tentatively agreed they're struggles on special teams do not fall on the coordinator and will now be looking for a new assistant.

The Cowboys did successfully transition from Kicker Dan Bailey to Brett Maher, watching Bailey struggle with the Vikings as Maher finished 29 of 36 and six of seven on field goals of 50 or more yards. The always-steady Chris Jones averaged 44.5 yards a punt in 2018, up slightly from 44.1.

The return game is where Dallas struggled to find consistency. Deonte Thompson led the team in kick returns despite being released after eight games. Darius Jackson, Jourdan Lewis, and Cole Beasley all failed to make an impact from this spot once called upon - with Beasley and Tavon Austin also handling punt returns for an average of 5.7 yards a return.

With further upgrades at wide receiver being a pressing need for the Cowboys still, adding a dynamic returner should be of priority for both the current coaches and any new additions to the ST staff.

The Cowboys were also second to last in average kickoff return yards allowed this season, and 16th in punt coverage.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Fire Special Teams Assistant Doug Colman" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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5 Potential Candidates Cowboys Could Target to Replace OC Scott Linehan

Brian Martin

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5 Potential Candidates to Replace Cowboys OC Scott Linehan

Should he go or should he stay!? That seems to be the question the Dallas Cowboys are asking themselves about their current Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Many of us would say it's an easy decision to make, but we really don't know what's going on behind closed doors.

The only thing we know for sure right now is Scott Linehan is still employed by the Dallas Cowboys and it might be a while before we know his fate with the organization one way or another. The Cowboys coaching staff, including Linehan, will coach the Pro Bowl in a little over a week, which is why any decision regarding Dallas' coaching staff will likely be delayed.

I know my opinion means little, but I have a hard time seeing Scott Linehan returning to the Dallas Cowboys next season. His playcalling has been pretty predictable and dated the past few years, plus there's the fact he was nearly fired earlier this season during the bye week. I don't think he's done much since then to improve his chances of sticking around. But, that's just my opinion.

That's why today I thought I'd share with you a few of the potential OC candidates I'd personally target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. Let's get started…

Tony Romo

Tony RomoHow elated would Cowboys Nation be if Tony Romo returned to the Dallas Cowboys as their next offensive coordinator. Everybody understands he doesn't have any formal coaching experience, especially in the NFL, but I seriously doubt that would matter.

No one would question his knowledge of the game, especially after hearing him break down the X's and O's first hand while he's commentating on game days. It's one of the reasons why he's grown in popularity as a commentator in such a short time.

Honestly, bringing in Romo as the OC could be the match made in heaven for the Cowboys. He already knows the system Jason Garrett likes to use offensively and his coaching philosophy. It would likely be a seamless transition, especially since he's already so familiar with the personnel. But, there's really no way of knowing if he's ready to leave his cushy commentating job to become a coach.

Todd Haley

Todd Haley

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

As much as I'd like to see Tony Romo make his return back to the Dallas Cowboys in a coaching capacity, bringing back Todd Haley to the organization would be a close second. He spent 2004-2006 with the Cowboys as their wide receiver coach before moving on to become the offensive coordinator for several teams (Cardinals, Steelers, Browns) and the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Unlike Romo, Haley has a proven track record as a play caller in the NFL. I personally like what he would bring to the table if made the new OC in Dallas. He is an aggressive play caller with a fiery attitude. I think his addition to the Cowboys offense could have the same kind of impact as Kris Richard's did to the defense this past season.

There is a downside about Haley though. He can be a bit abrasive with those he's working with. He's known for not always getting along with some of his players or with his coaching staff. It's one of the reasons why both he and Hue Jackson were fired this past season by the Cleveland Browns. I don't think it would be a problem with Dallas, but it is something to think about.

Eric Bieniemy

Eric BieniemyI'm grasping a little bit here because it would take quite a bit to lure Eric Bieniemy away from the Kansas City Chiefs, but it's not completely impossible. Jerry Jones would have to really put on his business hat to get Bieniemy's attention, especially after he was in the running for a few head-coaching jobs here recently. But, we all know how persuasive Jerry Jones can be when he wants to.

First off, the Dallas Cowboys would have to make Bieniemy their assistant head coach as well as their offensive coordinator. He is already the OC with the Chiefs, just not the playcaller. Andy Reid still handles those responsibilities. He does however handle the majority of the game planning, which is raved about because of his attention to detail.

His players have also raved about his personality and aggressiveness as a coach. This is something that has endeared Cowboys players to Kris Richard in a short amount of time and it could be the same if Eric Bieniemy comes aboard. Unfortunately, I think this is a longshot. He's probably is eyeing a head-coaching job that could come as soon as next season. Jason Garrett replacement?

Joe Lombardi

Joe LombardiJoe Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, isn't on a lot of people's list as a potential offensive coordinator candidate, but probably should be. He does have one year of experience as an OC in the NFL, but that was with the Detroit Lions in 2014-2015 and we shouldn't count that against him. No play callers last long in Detroit since Matthew Stafford took over as their starting QB.

The reason I really like Lombardi as a potential Scott Linehan replacement is because of the time he spent with Sean Payton and Drew Brees in New Orleans. Minus the one year in Detroit, he's been with the Saints since 2007. The majority of that time was spent as the QB coach to one of the best ever played the game.

I've been trying to figure out a way to get Sean Payton back as a Cowboys coach for the past several seasons without any success. Turning to someone he's personally groomed could be the next best thing. He was there through all of Drew Brees' numerous passing records and his Super Bowl victory. He has also help develop Taysom Hill into the playmaker he's become this season. He could just be the guy to take Dak Prescott's game to the next level.

Doug Nussmeier (In-house Candidate)

Doug Nussmeier

Dallas Cowboys TE Coach Doug Nussmeier

If the Dallas Cowboys do indeed decide to move on from Scott Linehan, it doesn't necessarily mean they will look outside the organization for a new offensive coordinator. They could quite possibly already have his replacement on the team in Doug Nussmeier, who served as their tight end coach this season.

Nussmeier's coaching background mostly consist of him being a QB coach or offensive coordinator at the collegiate level. In fact, those are the only two coaching titles he's held throughout his career until this year when he became the Cowboys TE coach. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty impressive, especially after seeing Dallas' young tight ends progress through the season.

Promoting Nussmeier to OC would virtually be a seamless transition for everybody involved. He knows the system, the players, and has been involved in the game planning this past season. I don't know however if he would be an upgrade over Scott Linehan. The two have known one another for years and have worked together in the past. Not exactly a ringing endorsement in my opinion.

Do any of these Dallas Cowboys OC candidates intrigue you? If not who?



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