Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton: Stay or go?

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Why should the Dallas Cowboys bring back Andy Dalton?

Backup quarterbacks are not valued that much in the NFL. That’s because, unlike backups for other positions, the starting quarterback usually plays the entire season. The Dallas Cowboys must ask themselves how much they value quarterback Andy Dalton.

Backup quarterbacks can save a team’s season. That was evident when starter Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury. While Dalton did not have much success as Dak, he played like a starting-caliber quarterback.

Having a starting-caliber quarterback as your backup is a great luxury to have. I think Prescott benefitted by having a successful NFL quarterback on the sidelines helping him out. At the same time, an injury to Dak was not as lethal as it could have been.

Outside playing one snap in Week 2, Dalton threw for 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 10 games. That includes Week 5 when the Red Rocket took over for Dak after his injury.

Over his nine starts at quarterback, Dalton earned a record of 4-5. He also closed out the Week 5 win against the New York Giants. That win does not count toward his record, but he deserves credit for leading Dallas to two field goals to win the game.

Two other quarterbacks got a starting nod for Dallas when Dalton was out with a concussion for two weeks. They were the 2020 seventh-round-pick Ben DiNucci and AAF standout Garrett Gilbert. Both quarterbacks lost and completed fewer than 56 percent of their passes.

That proves that Dalton did not win simply because of his surrounding. Even then, their surrounding was not that good. Poor defense and an injury-plagued offensive line made every matchup that much more difficult to be victorious.

The former Cincinnati Bengal may have had a role in Dak’s success before the injury. By success, I mean on pace to break Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s record for passing yards success. That’s an underrated bonus of having a veteran quarterback as a backup.

Bring back the Red Rocket

Andy Dalton is just about as good a backup quarterback as you can get. Performance-wise, he will be enough to keep the Dallas Cowboys afloat. On the sidelines, he supports Dak and offers insights as a three-time Pro Bowler with playoff experience.

Teams such as the Indianapolis Colts or New England Patriots may give him a call to be their starting quarterback. If Andy is not signed to be their starter, owner Jerry Jones should bring him back.

Dalton signed a one-year $3 million contract last season to play in Dallas. I would re-sign the quarterback to another one-year deal worth $3 million. With the NFL’s salary cap dropping this season, everyone needs to take a pay cut.

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Think of it this way; you’re paying $3 million to have another quarterback coach on the sidelines. At the same time, he can step in and at least keep Dallas at a .500 record. With Dak coming off a surgery-repaired ankle, anything can happen.