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Will Cowboys Stick w/ Clayton Thorson as Developmental QB, or Draft Another?

Quarterback prospect Clayton Thorson spent 2019 on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad after failing to make it past final cuts in Philadelphia. Will Thorson’s potential, having been a fifth-round pick just a year ago by the Eagles, keep Dallas from exploring other QB options in the 2020 NFL Draft?

The Cowboys have been investing more draft capital into the QB position in recent years. Two years ago they spent a fifth-round pick on Mike White and, of course, that infamous fourth-rounder on Dak Prescott in 2016. They have shown a greater priority to maintaining a pipeline of passing talent than in the past.

If that pattern were to hold then that would mean spending a mid-round pick on a new QB prospect this April.

However, Clayton Thorson is just entering his second year. This would also be his first offseason with the Cowboys, and a fresh start for almost everyone with Mike McCarthy and his staff replacing the Jason Garrett regime.

By cutting Mike White and adding Thorson last year, Dallas essentially swapped one fifth-round guy for another. They’d seen Mike’s work for over a year and let him walk to add Clayton, resetting with a fresh rookie QB prospect with more perceived upside.

This isn’t to say that the Cowboys won’t add at least one more passer as a training camp body, but Thorson’s presence could be enough to keep Dallas from spending a draft pick on the position in 2020.

Mike McCarthy Says He Hasn't Spoke To QB Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy

A key factor here will be McCarthy, whose coaching roots and professional resume have centered around the quarterback position. What does he think of Clayton Thorson’s potential, and what might he think of some of the prospects in the class of 2020?

Another issue will be the current contract statuses at the QB position. As of now, neither Dak Prescott or Cooper Rush are signed beyond 2020.

Dak is currently looking at a year on the franchise tag and Rush got a one-year deal as a restricted free agent. If a long-term deal with Prescott isn’t reached by the draft, could the Cowboys be more concerned about putting an insurance measure in place?

No, I don’t think they’d spend anything above a third-round pick even with Prescott and Rush on their one-year deals. But if someone is there late Friday night or early Saturday that McCarthy thinks has potential, the team may defer to their new head coach and let him have his guy to groom.

Again, Clayton Thorson could be that guy. He’s barely had a chance to show his stuff in the NFL and definitely not with the Cowboys. Dallas may want to give him at least one full offseason before drafting someone who would almost assuredly take Thorson’s spot on the roster or practice squad.

Like most topics in this 2020 offseason, everything is clouded by the additional variable of Mike McCarthy’s arrival. We’ve had a decade of knowing how things worked under Garrett; this is the first chance to learn how to adjust our expectations and projections in the McCarthy era.

Will Clayton Thorson get a chance to stick around in Dallas in 2020? Or will changes among the decision makers cause him to get discarded yet again?

What do you think?


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. Have not seen a lot of Thorson, did a little research quickly after seeing this article, but…
    Strike 1 – Threw a lot of INTs in college.
    Strike 2 – Fifth round pick and the Eagles let him go pretty quick.
    Strike 3 – Could not beat out Cooper Rush as the backup.

    I have commented a few times before on the QB situation on the Cowboys, my team for a long time. Do not like the position Prescott is taking with his contract. Greedy is the word I use for him and his agent. Especially NOW with the horrible situation with this insidious VIRUS, with all the job loss and death, this guy is being so UNREASONABLE. He wants to be paid as the best QB in the NFL. HE IS NOT!!! With a great offensive line, a great runner, and very good WRs., he goes 8-8. and when it really counted against the Eagles for the division, he wilted bigtime.

    Average American has to work hard for around 700+ YEARS to make what this guy would make for ONE YEAR. And it is not enough for him. Plus all the millions he makes on endorsements!!!

    Wake up Jerry and Stephen and TRADE this guy for as many picks as you can. Make a STATEMENT. Or DRAFT A QB EARLY to ACTUALLY compete with this GREEDY guy. Right now you have NO leverage, because your backup QB SUCKS. But after this year you actually might have some leverage and MAYBE a better QB, if you draft the right QB in this upcoming draft. Move up and snag one of the top two or three and make Dak sweat. Have some backbone and stop this insanity, because it is turning people off. But they probably will not. They will cave in end.

    • Quit comparing professional athletes to the average American. It’s a terrible argument. I’ll never sniff that kind of money, but I also realize that my profession doesn’t generate the same kind of revenue that being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys does.

      Getting the money he’s getting isn’t just about him. It’s about his family and their future as well as the rest of the players. Every player is going to try and get as much as he can because it helps the rest of the players. It’s the nature of the business. Considering you’ve been a football fan for as long as you have, I figure you’d understand how the NFL contract market works. You don’t have to be the best at your position to be paid like the best at your position. It’s just the way it goes. You can be upset that Dak is going to make what he’s going to make, but at least try to understand how the NFL market works.

      Dak Prescott can demand that money because it’s a supply and demand league. There aren’t enough good quarterbacks and everyone is trying to find one. When you find a quarterback who is the top 5-10 at his position, you pay the man and figure out other ways to make sure your roster can contend.

      In a year when Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson sign their contracts, Dak Prescott won’t be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL anymore. When the salary cap increases as it is reported to do so, up to $40 million over the next two years, his contract won’t take up as much of the salary cap as it might on the current cap.

      Relax and just enjoy having one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL on your roster. You’ve seen enough bad quarterback play to know how hard it is to find a good one.

      • Not every player is greedy and tries to get as much money as they can!! Amari Cooper took less money to stay with us… He could’ve went to Washington and made a lot more, but he chose to stay with us and take less money!! Jaylon Smith took a really cheap team friendly deal!! And that’s just to name a couple!! Dak could do the same thing and still be rich, but he’s not he wants that extra million or 2 like it’s gonna make that much of a difference when he’s already gonna be rich!! That’s called greed!! Just take the damn 33 million and be happy the rest of your life, quit worrying about an extra million or 2 like it’s gonna make a big difference when your already gonna get 33 million a year!! And you can use average people in comparison….. He should be lucky to get the chance to make that kinda money, there’s people out here that don’t even get the chance to get that kinda money!! He should take the 30 or 33 million and be lucky he got that!! And if he can’t support his family with that kinda money then he don’t need to be getting it!! There’s people out here supporting their families with 300 dollars a week so if us regular people can do it with that much money then he can with 30 damn million a year!! I was a big fan of Dak, but this contract crap has just turned me against him!! I just can’t handle watching somebody act like they can’t do anything with that kinda money!!

        • Sure, he might have been able to get more by going to the Redskins, but then he would have been playing for the Redskins. It’s easy to say he took less, but really he just decided to stay in a much better situation. He’s one of the more thoughtful and smart players in the NFL. He knows the difference in the two organizations is so great that it’s worth it to him to stay with the better franchise, which will allow him the chance to contend every year.

          He’s the second highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. There’s no way that’s a “team friendly discount.”

        • Seriously you can’t compare professional athletes to average people. It’s a terrible argument. The average person isn’t generating the same amount of revenue that Dak Prescott is. If they were, they could demand $35 million a year. But they’re not. It’s the reality of the entertainment business. And as I mentioned before, every player in the NFL owes it to the Players Association to get as much as they possibly can on each contract because it benefits other players as well.

          I’m sure he feels fortunate to be in that position, but he’s also worked really hard and earned the right to be in that position. He played on one of the cheapest quarterback contracts in the NFL for four years and now it’s his time to cash in. Given the physical nature of the NFL, it’s possible this will be his only opportunity to cash in.

          Contracts are the nature of professional sports. You’re going to go through this every year with one of your top players. The previous two seasons it was Tank and Zeke. Now it’s Dak. It’s how professional sports works. If you don’t like it, perhaps you should follow college football where the Universities and networks make all the money and the players have to simply play for their scholarships. That seems to be more your ally.

    • QB’S are hard to find anyway, since Troy Aikman we’ve had 25-27 different QB’S start and was also looking for Romo replacement for awhile. They finally found the man for the job. 50-70% of the first rounders have been bust in the NFL and this is an overrated QB class.

  2. don’t sleep on thorson, he was picked up right after last preseason game last year, betcha he beats out cooper red rush!!! and he can run also,,,,, jus sayin

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