In a semi-shocking maneuver late Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys continue to win the 2020 offseason by adding quarterback Andy Dalton to the roster.
I believe quite strongly that on May 3, 2020, the following statement could not be more accurate. The Dallas Cowboys have clearly won the NFL offseason.
It all started in January when the Cowboys finally rid themselves of their underperforming head coach and way-past-his-prime defensive coordinator. Two days later, the Cowboys replaced Jason Garrett with former Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy. That trade-off is a clear win.
Free agency was the next challenge that the Cowboys faced. While they did lose former Pro Bowl-cornerback Byron Jones along with edge rusher Robert Quinn, every other “loss” has been upgraded either by a free agent signing of their own or the draft (we’ll get to that in a minute).
Gone are defensive linemen Maliek Collins, Daniel Ross, Christian Covington, and Kerry Hyder. In their place, the Cowboys brought in Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Aldon Smith. The previous four never collectively went to one Pro Bowl. Their replacements have been named to the Pro Bowl nine times with two All-Pro selections. Huge win numero dos.
The Cowboys also replaced safety Jeff Heath with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (another upgrade) and added veteran defensive backs Daryl Worley and Maurice Canady along with re-signing Anthony Brown. Not only did Dallas upgrade their defensive line, but they also added serious depth to the back end of their defense as well.
After that, came the draft. As I wrote last week, no team outperformed the Dallas Cowboys last weekend in this event. With CeeDee Lamb at receiver, Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson, II at cornerback, and Neville Gallimore at defensive tackle, Dallas added three more good players to their defense and one absolute stud to an already loaded offense.
All of this would normally be more than enough to make the fan base happy. Over the last decade, we have sort of become accustomed to “meh” offseasons. Apparently the front office is in full, “hold my beer” mode, however.
Late Saturday night, the Cowboys signed newly available quarterback Andy Dalton to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, however the base value is just $3 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In doing so, Dallas finally has a viable backup quarterback that is easily the best player in that role in the entire league.
Dalton, a three-time Pro-Bowler in his own right, is responsible for 70 career wins for the Cincinnati Bengals. No quarterback in their franchise history had a better quarterback rating (minimum 500 pass attempts) or more touchdowns thrown (204) than the Red Rifle.
In nine seasons, Dalton has never thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. He also has 22 career rushing touchdowns while being extremely durable, only missing 11 games in almost a decade as an NFL starting quarterback.
This move immediately gives the Cowboys a legitimate backup in case incumbent quarterback Dak Prescott has to miss any games for any reason. Aside from the seven games that Tony Romo was technically a backup to Prescott in 2016, the Cowboys have not a more capable backup quarterback since the 2000 season when Randall Cunningham was Troy Aikman‘s caddy.
Even in that scenario, Cunningham was in his 15th season, once retired and creeping up on forty years of age. Dalton, at age 32, is still definitely in his prime with at least three to five good years in him.
Those future years likely will not matter. Dalton (knock on wood) may not even be needed. Still, his presence, even without stepping one foot in between the lines, makes the 2020 Dallas Cowboys a better team.
The old regime used to talk about “churning the roster” while rarely doing so, especially at the most important position on the field. The new guys in town clearly are not playing around. If a player is out there who can make this team better, the Dallas Cowboys are out there ready to roll the dice. This is just another move in a stunning offseason that proves this team is here to do whatever it takes to get over the hump.