While he was on the Cowboys' 53-man roster throughout the 2021 season, Quarterback Will Grier never saw a single snap. Now getting his first offseason with Dallas, the former 3rd-round pick is in a much better position to compete for the backup job and make his presence known.
Grier was drafted in 2019 by the Carolina Panthers as they prepared for the end of Cam Newton's run with the franchise. He was third on the depth chart behind Newton and Kyle Allen but did start two games late in the year after Cam got injured and Allen was struggling as the starter.
Unfortunately, Grier's NFL debut was a disaster with three picks and no touchdowns in a lopsided loss. He started the next week and threw another pick before exiting the game with a foot injury.
Those two starts in 2019 are the only playing time that Will's had in the NFL up until now. He spent 2020 buried behind Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker and was released at final cuts in 2021. The Cowboys claimed Grier off of waivers, taking on the final two years of his rookie contract.
Only joining Dallas in September last year, Grier didn't get a chance to learn the system or have any real competition with Cooper Rush for the backup job. The Cowboys thought enough of his potential to carry him on the roster all season but, once again, Will never got a snap as Dak Prescott mostly stayed healthy and Rush filled in when needed.
2022 presents Will Grier with his first real opportunity to compete since leaving Carolina. Some might dismiss him, thinking he couldn't even catch on in a weak Panthers QB room so why should we expect much now?
If that's your summary judgment, consider the following:
- Grier's rookie season was Ron Rivera's last as Panthers head coach. Matt Rhule took over in 2020 and brought a new offensive coordinator and other staff changes with him.
- Grier joined the Panthers during a tumultuous point in their QB room. Cam Newton was declining and Kyle Allen was being treated like the potential heir.
- The Panthers fired General Manager Marty Hurney after the 2021 season. When Scott Fitterer took over, he had no previous connection to the organization after 20 years in the Seahawks front office. At this point none of the coaches or the GM had had a hand in drafting Grier.
To say that the Panthers parting with Grier is damning testimony to his potential could be grossly misjudged. He was a product of a previous regime and we've often seen when big changes on coaching staffs, and especially at general manager, lead to sweeping roster turnover as they seek to put “their guys” in place.
This is all to say that Will Grier, seen as a Day 2 QB prospect just a few years ago, shouldn't be dismissed as a potential factor for the 2022 Cowboys. He's the highest-drafted passer on Dallas' roster and now will have the practice and preparation time needed to make a true showing of his capability.
Much like Cooper Rush shocked us last year by beating out Garrett Gilbert for the backup job, don't be surprised if Grier now pushes Rush for the same role next season.