Cowboys Quarterback Options

Photo Credit: Ron Jenkins/AP Photo

It’s an incredibly frustrating Monday for Dallas Cowboys fans. It was an extremely disappointing offensive performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday night, as the Cowboys only managed to score three points in the game. Then, we all woke up to the news that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will miss 6-8 weeks after having surgery on his right thumb that was injured against the Bucs. This team needs to stay competitive, especially with how the Philadelphia Eagles looked in their first game. Dallas needs to have a guy step in that can steady the ship until Dak gets back. So the question now is, who?

The Cowboys have some options to consider, on the roster and off. Let’s dive into it and look at who can take over while Prescott recovers.

Cooper Rush

This option is not the best one on the list. But it is what the Cowboys have to work with currently. Rush came in last night late in the fourth quarter after Dak’s injury and didn’t look terrible. He also didn’t look good either. He has experience in this offense and some chemistry with the receivers. His stats aren’t terrible either, throwing for three touchdowns to only one interception and a 105.1 quarterback rating in five appearances last season. Ideally, Rush can step in and step up for the Cowboys. Should he not, then the Cowboys could turn to the next option on this list.

Will Grier

This option isn’t any better than the first one, but Will Grier has more upside than Rush. Grier had a solid preseason, throwing two touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 94.0 in two appearances. Grier hasn’t had the best regular season games in his NFL career, throwing no touchdowns and four interceptions in two starts for the Carolina Panthers in 2019. However, this Cowboys team is a lot better than that Panthers team was. Grier was a talented prospect out of WVU a few years back and I really liked him coming out. Should Rush not perform well, the Cowboys should at least consider giving Grier a chance.

Cam Newton

Hear me out here. Yes, Cam is not the same Cam from his MVP season in 2015. Yes, Cam is way past his prime. Cam can also be a distraction at times. There’s questions about if his arm is still there. But do you know what he can do? Steady the ship in Dallas. Last year was by far Newton’s worst year as a pro, but the Panthers were awful last season and it wasn’t all on Cam. Newton still ran for over 200 yards and five touchdowns last season, and ran for just under 600 yards and 12 touchdowns the season prior in New England. One thing the Cowboys do well is run the football with Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Adding another wrinkle to the run game in the form of a 6’5 250 lb Cam Newton, and you have a lethal rushing attack. I think Cam can make enough throws for the Cowboys to stay competitive. It would also cost next to nothing to get Cam. The Jones’s should seriously consider this option.

Kyle Allen

This is a quarterback that has spent time in Carolina, Washington, and is now currently backing up Davis Mills in Houston. He is a very solid backup and has performed pretty well when asked to start. In 21 career games, Allen has completed 63.1% of his passes, thrown 24 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, and has a quarterback rating of 84.9. Allen isn’t the most talented, but his arm is good enough to make most throws and he can run the ball when needed as well. His record is something to be desired (7-14), but this would be the most talented team Allen would play on up to this point in his career. Allen’s contract and trade value make him an affordable option and one that should be looked into for Dallas.

Robert Griffin III

We’re getting into the weeds here, but this would totally be a Jerry move if I’ve ever seen one. Big name, local guy, played for their arch rival, and is a big personality. Griffin III isn’t really a starting option. I could see RG3 as a backup option for Rush or Grier or even as depth to a guy that they potentially trade for. Griffin III has stated that he is keeping NFL ready should he get a call during his TV analyst career. This is unlikely, but it’s fun to think about. Could also be a potential revenge game for RG3, as the Cowboys face their arch rival Washington in Week 4. Now onto a more legitimate option.

Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph is kind of the odd man out in Pittsburgh. He’s their third string quarterback behind Mitch Trubisky, who pulled off the upset Sunday against division rival and AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, and first-round rookie Kenny Pickett. Rudolph has been a decent backup for the Steelers. He hasn’t by any means been great but he’s been decent. In 17 career games, Rudolph has completed 61.5% of his passes and thrown 16 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Rudolph is 5-4-1 as a starter. There are much worse options than Rudolph. It’s not a sexy option and it’s not going to generate much, if any, excitement. The Cowboys need a steady hand and Rudolph is basically a .500 starter. It wouldn’t take much to get him and that alone should be enough of a reason for Dallas to take a look into aquiring Rudolph.

Jimmy Garoppolo

This is clearly an obvious option, probably the most obvious. It’s also the best option that’s on the table for the Cowboys. Despite an abundance of criticism, Jimmy G is a good starting quarterback in this league. I believe he’s top 20 and I don’t think there’s much of a conversation with that. He’s gone places that the Cowboys haven’t even sniffed in 25+ years. Garoppolo’s contract is now an affordable one for the Cowboys to take on after the 49ers restructured his contract. Garoppolo provides excellent value, given that new contract. He would, without a doubt, keep the ship steady in Dallas and keep them in contention. He’s done so now multiple times with San Francisco, taking them to two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. There’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t in Dallas with good enough weapons and a solid defense.

The only issue is, can Kyle Shanahan rip off the band-aid and fully commit to Trey Lance? I don’t think he will. Lance’s Week 1 performance certainly didn’t generate any confidence, which is even more reason for the Niners to hang on to Jimmy G. Jerry would have to trade more assets than desired for an eight game rental. I don’t know that it would be worth the capital required to aquire him. It depends how bad Rush and Grier perform in the next week or so and how badly Jerry wants to stay competitive.

It also depends how the rest of the division does. If there’s no one taking charge of the division early on, then maybe the Cowboys don’t need to do anything except roll with Rush and whatever mid-to-low-level backup they end up signing. It will be interesting to see how aggressive and desperate Jerry and Co. get.

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