Andy Dalton Calls Cowboys Contract 'The Best Opportunity for This Year'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 5, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton answers questions after the Bengals defeated the Cleveland Browns 33-23 in an NFL football game in Cincinnati. The Bengals cleared the way for Joe Burrow to lead the team by releasing quarterback Andy Dalton, who holds several of the franchise's passing records but couldn't lead the woebegone Bengals deep into the playoffs. The move Thursday, April 30, 2020, gives Dalton, who had a year left on his deal, a chance to compete for a job with another team. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, File)
Gary Landers/Associated Press

Former Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Former Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton is signing a one-year deal worth up to $7 million that includes $3 million guaranteed with the Dallas Cowboys, source tells ESPN. Dalton is returning to Texas.

The Katy, Texas, native joined ESPN's The Adam Schefter Podcast on Monday to discuss why he chose Dallas, where he will back up starter Dak Prescott (h/t Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams):

"Once I got released, at that point I had to figure out, OK, what's going to be best for me, what's going to be best for my future for the next 10 years for me? So, just weighing all the options—I had several options out there, and I had to figure out what was the best situation for me to go into that was going to set me up for this next half of my career. After weighing everything, I felt like going to Dallas was going to be the right fit for me this year. Like I said earlier, I'm excited. I think it's going to be a great opportunity."

Dalton added: "This team's ready to win. I felt like it was the best opportunity for this year, and it hopefully set me up for my future. This was a big-picture plan."

The Bengals released their 2011 second-round pick Thursday:

Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals

We have released QB Andy Dalton. Andy has not only been an outstanding player on the field, but a role model in the Cincinnati community for the last nine years. Thank you for everything, Andy. https://t.co/pBj9THIot5

Cincinnati Bengals @Bengals

9 years 204 touchdowns 2,757 completions An unquestionable impact on the community Thank you, Andy! https://t.co/tf4XATV0by

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported on Sunday that Dalton had five other suitors.

Dalton attended TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, before landing in Cincinnati. The 32-year-old won't have to make much of a move to the Cowboys, as he lives in Dallas during the offseason, per Williams.

The three-time Pro Bowler is the Bengals' all-time leader in passing touchdowns (204) and ranks second in franchise history in passing yards (31,594). Dalton helped Cincinnati make the playoffs five straight years (2011-15), but he has never won a postseason game (he missed the Bengals' 2015 playoff game with an injury).

He told Schefter he is looking forward to improving under Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, whom Dallas hired in January, and experiencing winning football:

Jon Machota @jonmachota

Andy Dalton on the @AdamSchefter podcast on joining the Cowboys: “This team is ready to win. I felt like it was the best opportunity for this year and hopefully it will set me up for my future. ... I feel like there is a lot of good football left for me." https://t.co/JHuqROHR1j

Dalton's signing sparked conversations about how Prescott will be affected by having a veteran quarterback as his backup while he's in contract negotiations with the Cowboys:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @NFLTotalAccess: The #Cowboys signed backup QB Andy Dalton, but what does this mean for Dak Prescott?? (Spoiler: Nada.) https://t.co/aCePJr3hhX

Highly Quarantined @HQonESPN

"Andy Dalton is not the guy that is coming to take your job." —@Foxworth24 doesn't think Dak Prescott has anything to worry about https://t.co/tboq5uQycY

Dallas placed the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott, and the two sides have until July 15 to agree on a long-term deal.

Dalton will again become a free agent after the 2020 season.