The Dallas Cowboys have invested the last three seasons in developing quarterback prospect Cooper Rush. If Rush returns next season, does the Cowboys need to make any additional moves to secure their backup position in 2020?
It was announced earlier this week that Dallas will give Rush, a restricted free agent this offseason, the lowest RFA tender of $2.1 million. The gives the Cowboys the right to match any offer from another team, or original draft pick compensation if they allow Cooper to leave.
Unfortunately, Rush was an undrafted free agent in 2017. So Dallas would get nothing back if he leaves.
Paying $2 million for the right to match any contract offer that Cooper gets shows that the Cowboys' still value their asset. And the fact that decision to place the RFA tender on him now, with the new coaching staff's input, is another positive sign for Rush's future.
The three years that Dallas has put into Cooper are meaningful. And remember, in the 2017 and 2019 preseasons, we came away very excited about what Rush might be able to do if ever needed in a real game.
In addition to Dak and Cooper, Dallas also has Clayton Thorson coming off a rookie year on the practice squad. He was a fifth-round pick in 2019 of the Eagles who didn't survive final cuts, and the Cowboys then dumped Mike White in favor of adding Thorson.
The Cowboys have vacillated at times between trusting veteran backups over less proven prospects. But now that Rush has held the job for almost three years, you could almost consider him a veteran in his own right.
Some would likely prefer a more experienced backup like Case Keenum or Mike Glennon, but that negates the potential for a guy like Cooper to shine in his first opportunity. What if you can then leverage that perceived potential into a trade?
Between the work Dallas has put into Cooper Rush and the things he's flashed in preseasons, it would be wise to see things through with this investment. Maybe the return will be greater than you think, whether Rush provides it on our roster or by moving to someone else's.