The Dallas Cowboys just got their first look at life without Dak Prescott, and boy was it ugly.
Andy Dalton got his first start for America’s Team on Monday night after Prescott’s season-ending injury. The Cowboys thought he was a suitable replacement to keep them afloat in the NFC East, but they might have to rethink their options. Dalton struggled all night as the Cowboys fell to the Arizona Cardinals, 38-10.
If Dallas wants to push for a playoff spot, it might have to find a new answer to their QB problem. That answer led the NFL in passing yards last season. It’s riding on the bench in New Orleans and wants another shot at a starting job. That answer is Jameis Winston.
Andy Dalton isn’t cutting it in Dallas
The Cowboys signed Dalton as a precautionary measure in the offseason. They hoped they wouldn’t have to employ him into the starting lineup at all in 2020, but Prescott’s season-ending injury gave them no choice.
With how atrocious the NFC East has been this year, Dalton didn’t need to be Superman. All he needed to do was get the ball to his elite weapons and take care of the ball.
Well, he did neither in his first start. Dalton threw one touchdown and two interceptions Monday night against the Cardinals. He finished the game with a 65.8 QB rating, and Dallas lost by 28 points.
All the Cowboys need is a quarterback who can force the ball downfield and let their speedy receivers do the rest. Dalton seems to be incapable of doing so, but Winston has made a living off exactly that.
Jameis Winston can thrive with offensive weapons around him
Winston may be a bench-warmer this season, but he was one of the best statistical quarterbacks in the NFL during his time with the Buccaneers.
In five seasons with the Bucs, Winston threw for 19,737 yards and 88 touchdowns. He threw for a league-high 5,109 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, in large part because he had a lethal array of weapons at his disposal.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin might be the best one-two punch at wide receiver in the NFL. O.J. Howard is an up-and-coming star at tight end, and Cameron Brate is a reliable red-zone target. Winston used his weapons to put up 29.5 points per game last season, which was the eighth-highest mark in the league.
With the Cowboys’ struggles on the defensive side of the ball, they need a quarterback who can keep up. Jerry Jones needs to get the Saints on the phone.
The Cowboys need to trade for Winston
Winston is a lot of things as an NFL quarterback. Frustrating to watch? Sure. Turnover prone? Big time. But the dude knows how to put points on the scoreboard, and that’s exactly what the Cowboys need.
Winston could put up 30 points per game with the offensive weapons available in Dallas. He might throw an interception or two every game, but so will Dalton.
It won’t be expensive to trade for Winston, either. The Saints have Drew Brees and Taysom Hill in the QB room, so they have no use for Winston at the moment. The former Buccaneer is only making $1.1 million this season, too.
Jones could call up New Orleans this week and pry Winston away for a mid-to-late-round draft pick, and he absolutely should.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference