Andy Dalton Says 'Dak Is the Starter' After Signing 1-Year Cowboys Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 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

Andy Dalton is fully aware that he signed with the Dallas Cowboys to serve as Dak Prescott's backup. 

"Dak has played really well. I knew the situation I was coming into," he told Jon Machota of The Athletic. "... Dak is the starter on this team. If for some reason he was to go down, I will be able to step in and help this team."

Dalton also said he reached out to Prescott after signing a one-year, $3 million deal (with up to $4 million in incentives) with the Cowboys:

Jon Machota @jonmachota

Andy Dalton on if he's had any interaction with Dak Prescott since signing with the Cowboys: "I sent him a text, just reaching out. But that's been about it." Dalton told him he was available to help out in any way. Dak responded that he appreciated it

Dalton, 32, spent the past nine seasons largely serving as the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, accumulating 31,594 passing yards, 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions while completing 62 percent of his passes. But the Bengals floundered in 2019, going 2-14, and the team used the No. 1 overall selection to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. 

That signaled the end of Dalton's time in Cincinnati. It was always likely his next gig would be as a backup, making Dallas a logical fit. 

During an appearance on 1310 The Ticket (h/t Todd Archer of ESPN) on Wednesday, Cowboys president Stephen Jones compared the Dalton addition to the Philadelphia Eagles signing Nick Foles, who led the team to a Super Bowl in 2017 after starter Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury:

"To have a guy like Andy Dalton come in here—not unlike what Philly had with Nick Foles when Carson Wentz went down—to be able to take control and win games, win huge games for you if that’s what you need is really important. Certainly you can lay your head on the pillow better at night knowing you have someone like Andy Dalton."

Granted, Dalton is hoping his time as a backup doesn't last beyond 2020:

Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL

New Cowboys backup QB Andy Dalton said he wants to "help Dak as much as I can. Obviously, I bring a lot of experience. ... Hopefully, this sets me up for the future." He is scheduled to re-enter free agency in 2021. "I believe I'm a starter in this league."

While Prescott's contract situation remains unresolved, there's little doubt he's the main man for the Cowboys. The 26-year-old had another solid season in 2019, throwing for 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, completing 65.1 percent of his passes, though the Cowboys finished just 8-8 and missed the postseason. 

And now, Dallas has a solid insurance plan should Prescott get injured.