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QB Cooper Rush is Still Hanging Around; Any Chance he Makes 2021 Roster?

Cooper Rush has been part of the Dallas Cowboys for the last four years and yet has almost never seen the field. He remains on the roster now during this 2021 offseason, but what chance does he have of actually making the team this year?

Rush now has more seasons (4) than career passing attempts (3) so far in the NFL. After a three-year run from 2017-2019 as the backup quarterback in Dallas, he followed Jason Garrett to the New York Giants in 2020 but was released at the end of September.

Once Dak Prescott was lost for the year and backup Andy Dalton was also dealing with injuries, the Cowboys brought Rush back into the fold as part of the 2020 practice squad. He was active for one game last year as Garrett Gilbert’s backup against the Pittsburgh Steelers but never saw playing time.

After leaving Dallas once already and only being brought back under dire circumstances, it’s somewhat surprising that Cooper is still with the team today. But with the Cowboys not adding any additional QB talent so far via free agency or the draft, Rush is still hanging around for now.

That felt close to changing a few days ago when Dallas brought in veteran Jeff Driskel for a visit. I proposed with that news that Rush would be the odd man out if Driskel was signed, assuming Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci remain preferred options for the Cowboys at this time.

But Driskel left without a contract and thus left Rush, assumedly, with his roster spot for now. But am I, like most Cowboys onlookers, not giving Cooper enough legitimacy as a backup QB candidate in 2021?

Rush may not have any real-game experience but he only has one game less than Gilbert or DiNucci. And while Dallas let him go in 2020, they trusted him to be Prescott’s primary backup for the better part of three whole seasons.

We all remember how dazzling Dak was during the 2016 preseason. Well, never forget that Cooper Rush was almost equally impressive in 2017. And while he did slump a bit the following year, Rush looked much closer to that rookie form during his August appearances in 2019.

Also remember that in 2020 the Cowboys had re-signed Rush to a one-year deal as a restricted free agent. They only released him in May after adding Andy Dalton; a clear upgrade as a veteran backup to Prescott.

I can’t offer you anything concrete that says Cooper can or will be competing for the backup QB job in 2021. But this is just a reminder that the Cowboys have trusted this man before and, if not for the opportunity to sign Dalton, may have very well done it again last season.

Perhaps we all, myself included, need to stop dismissing Cooper Rush so easily for next season’s roster.

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. Ok let’s quit beating around the bush! If CR was good enough to play and be successful in this league don’t you think that some team would have already picked him up and he would have been playing ? To truly increase your chances of making the post season a team needs a QB that can come in on a moments notice and take a team put it on his back and win ballgames! To be honest with you I personally would rather have Tim Tebow than some of the guys we have had in the past backing up our starting QB! The Cowboys need to go out and get another Andy Dalton, or even RG III just somebody that has starting experience and has won games in this league!!

    • Tony Romo had been with the Cowboys from 2003-2005 without ever throwing a pass in the regular season. Getting the opportunity to play and being good enough are two very different things. Gotta be careful with these assumptions.

  2. Garrett Gilbert is a stud. I don’t care what anybody says. He went up against, at the time, the second or third best team in the NFL. And almost won. If our defense would have woke up at any time we would have won.

    I think the Cowboys made a huge mistake re-signing Prescott and wasting all that money. Could you imagine re-signing Gilbert and then building a team around him? Rebuilding around him with all that money that Dak Prescott just received?I know that sounds like Madden kind of tactics but there was so many other options for the Cowboys. Hell, RG3 could probably win with this team. With 40 million dollars to spread out to top end defense players, we would could beunbeatable.

    I’m just not a big fan of paying quarterbacks insane amounts of money. Dak Prescott is not a transcending quarterback. Don’t get me wrong, he is good but not a transcending quarterback. Not like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Tom Brady. He’s Just Not That guy. He needs a team around him to be great. But yet dumbass Jerry paid in 40 million a year. 25 to 30 Maybe but not 40 million. I’m not even saying that Garrett Gilbert was more than a fluke that game ala Jason Garretts’Thanksgiving game.

    I just think that 40 million dollars spread around to some top-flight defensive players,with a better-than-average quarterback,we could have a real chance to win.

    Just look at the 2001 Baltimore Ravens. They had the best defense by far,ever. They had a stud running back along with an incredible offensive line. They didn’t really even have a true number one receiver . For f##ksakes,their quarterback had the lowest rating of any winning quarterback in the Super Bowl. And they still hoisted the Lombardi trophy. Sounds like a good formula to me.

    Jerry just cant get out of his or the teams way. He should just sign the checks what will McClay run things and shut his mouth. He’s proved that he is not a winner. Go back to the oilfield Jerry and let somebody with football IQ run the Dallas Cowboys. Remember Jimmy Johnson? I do….

    • You lost me at “Garrett Gilbert is a stud.” He had one AVERAGE day against a team that took a complete nosedive after beating Dallas. If you really look at that game, Pittsburgh was already nosediving but we just weren’t good enough to take advantage of it.

      Gilbert completed 55% of his passes, had a 1/1 ratio on TD/INT, and a 72.6 passer rating that day. “Stud?” If that’s a stud, then Dak Prescott is mid-90s Brad Pitt.

  3. SeriouslyJess are you saying CR is in the same Conversation as Tony Romo ? I just don’t see it but l’ll make you a promise that if CR gets a starting job anywhere in the NFL and has half the career that TR did l will buy you a steak supper ! Wait …., I’ ll buy you a steak supper if he starts for any NFL team and wins 8 ball games!!! Maybe I just misunderstood what you were saying!! Hey maybe I’m wrong about CR I would like to hear the opinions of others that write on this site!

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