When Jerry Jones gave Andy Dalton $3 million in the offseason, many fans scratched their heads in confusion.
Dak Prescott was already solidified as the starting quarterback. He hadn’t missed a single start in the first four years of his career, proving to be one of the most durable QBs in the NFL along the way. Prescott was already scheduled to make over $31 million this season, so why waste $3 million more on a player who won’t even see the field?
Well, that decision just proved to be a genius one for Jones, as Prescott suffered a gruesome injury on Sunday and is expected to be out for the season. It’s the Andy Dalton show now, and he can make that $3 million gamble a season-saving move for Jones.
Jerry Jones gave Andy Dalton $3 million to be a backup
After nine seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Dalton was released by the team after it drafted Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Dalton gave the Bengals five winning seasons in a row, but his play fell off drastically in the last few years.
Many wondered if Dalton would ever get a starting job in the NFL again, but no team that needed a starter took a chance on the veteran QB. Then, Jerry Jones picked up the phone.
The Cowboys didn’t have any proven quarterbacks on the depth chart behind Dak Prescott entering the season, so Jones made a call to Dalton. Jones eventually signed Dalton to a one-year deal worth $3 million guaranteed. Dalton can earn up to $7 million this season with the incentives baked into the contract.
Many Cowboys fans believed Jones was throwing away $3 million for a player who wouldn’t even see the field, but it might turn out to be a real bargain of a deal.
Dalton is now the Cowboys’ starting QB after Prescott’s injury
Dak Prescott hadn’t missed a single start through the first four seasons of his career coming into the season, so the chances of Dalton even getting playing time in 2020 seemed thin.
But freak injuries happen almost weekly in the NFL, and Prescott was the most recent victim on Sunday. During a late-game run against the Giants, Prescott was tackled awkwardly, and it caused his ankle to snap sideways.
It was later revealed Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle during the play. He was rushed to a local hospital and had successful surgery after the game. Although that’s good news, Prescott is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Remember that $3 million gamble by Jerry Jones? Not so dumb now, is it?
Jones’ $3 million gamble could save the Cowboys’ season
Without Andy Dalton on the roster, the Cowboys would be in serious trouble for the rest of the season. The only other QB on the depth chart is Ben DiNucci, a rookie out of JMU who was taken in the seventh round a few months ago.
Dalton replaced Prescott on Sunday and led the Cowboys to a comeback win against the Giants with some clutch throws down the stretch. He just had the look of someone who’s been there before, which is exactly what Dallas needs the rest of the season.
Amazingly, the Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East at 2-3. Dalton doesn’t need to be exceptional to win this sorry division. He just needs to be efficient and smart. Feed Ezekiel Elliott. Get the ball to your weapons in space. Don’t turn the ball over. If he can check those boxes, he has a real chance to lead the Cowboys to the playoffs.
Dalton has playoff experience, and he knows how to close out a tight division race. If he can lead the Cowboys to the postseason, it will make Jerry Jones’ gamble the best $3 million he’s ever spent.