Alex Smith could be a great fit for the Dallas Cowboys
By Mitch Larson
Just like last season, the NFC East is up for grabs yet again in 2021. If the Dallas Cowboys want to compete next season they will first need to address the host of glaring defensive issues they have, but one spot on the roster that they can’t forget to address is the backup quarterback.
The Cowboys saw firsthand how important a competent backup is last season when they went from being capable of putting up 40 points on a weekly basis with Dak Prescott under center, to struggling to move the ball consistently with anyone else after his injury.
Every team in the NFC East has some significant holes, but Dallas has a genuine shot to make a run at the division if they can improve the defense and stay healthy. However, just like in 2020, if franchise quarterback Dak Prescott goes down, this team could be in big trouble.
After bolstering their defense, their next priority should be to sign a veteran backup who can start if Prescott has a setback in his recovery or suffers another injury. One player who makes a ton of sense is Alex Smith.
The Dallas Cowboys can’t ignore the backup quarterback position
With last season’s backup Andy Dalton signing a one-year deal to move up north and become the starter for the Chicago Bears, it leaves the Dallas Cowboys without a truly viable option at backup quarterback. Yes, they still have Garrett Gilbert under contract and he played serviceably in his one start last season.
However, Gilbert entered the league in 2014 and since then he’s started just a single game (last year’s contest with the Pittsburgh Steelers) and thrown a grand total of 44 passes in the NFL. 38 of those came in his lone start with the team last season. He should be fine, but can the Cowboys really count on “could be fine” next season?
Not if they can avoid it. Cowboys fans saw that film before (multiple times) when Tony Romo was the starting quarterback. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and no one is clamoring for it to have its own cinematic universe.
Outside of Gilbert, the team still has Cooper Rush and last year’s seventh-round pick Ben DiNuci on the roster. But if Prescott were to go down again for more than a single game is there any confidence that either could step in and play competently? In that situation, the Cowboys are likely looking at free agents or signing someone off another team’s practice squad rather than turning to either Rush or “The Nooch”.
Former first overall pick Alex Smith could be the perfect backup to Dak Prescott
One quarterback available in free agency who could be a great fit for the Dallas Cowboys is former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller Alex Smith. Smith spent last season with the Washington Football Team and was a major reason why they were able to make the playoffs, leading them to five wins in his six starts.
That’s all fine for Washington, but it underscores just how incredible last season was for Smith. It’s true his traditional stats took a dip and he threw more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (six), but he did it after coming off a gruesome leg injury. The story is well documented by now, but Alex Smith even practicing on a football field was incredibly impressive. The fact that he started six games and led his team to the playoffs en route to winning Comeback Player of the Year is downright inspiring.
Alex Smith already has some existing Dallas Cowboys connections
Smith’s comeback had quite the effect on players around the league too. After Dak signed his extension in March, he made sure to give Smith a shoutout during his press conference. It was a great sign of respect in a rivalry not known for kind words. Now that Smith is a free agent, how great would it be if Prescott had him in his ear as a teammate while he continued through his own recovery process?
Dak’s praise isn’t the last of Smith’s connections to Dallas either. When the 49ers drafted him first overall out of Utah back in 2005, San Francisco’s offensive coordinator was none other than current Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.
McCarthy would end up leaving the bay area a year later to become the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. His drafting of Smith over Aaron Rodgers, his eventual quarterback in Green Bay, has long been publicly speculated to be one of the main reasons for their notoriously fractured relationship.
Now that Smith will be even further removed from his injury and has some meaningful games under his belt, he’s shown he can still play in the NFL. There is every reason to believe he can be a quality backup who is more likely to win his team a game than lose it when called upon.
Alex Smith is a reliable veteran who can come off the bench and start confidently, giving the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to be in every game he plays in if they were forced to start him. That’s not something I can say about any other backup on the Cowboys’ roster right now. With a wide-open division and the chance to make some noise, this season is too important to head into without a reliable backup for Dak Prescott, signing Smith could fix that problem.