Veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson reported the Cowboys' desire, but Dalton is currently exploring offers elsewhere. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported the team is "bracing" to lose the 33-year-old:
The TCU product spent last season in Dallas after nine seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' starting quarterback.
Dalton threw for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 2020, taking over for an injured Dak Prescott to start nine games. While he wouldn't be any team's top option as a starter—the Cowboys offense cratered with Dalton under center in comparison to Prescott—he's on the short list of the game's top backups/fill-in starters.
Dalton spoke to reporters in January about what lies ahead:
"There's a lot to be decided this offseason. This is my first time being a free agent when the new league year starts, so I'll go through the process of everything and weigh all of my options and see what I got.
"Like I said, I've really enjoyed my time in Dallas. Just a good chance to play back at home where I've had a lot of family and friends that are able to come to games. I'm very thankful for the opportunity that I had this year, with the ability to play and just put some tape out there."
Dalton's free-agent destination will depend on his desires for the immediate future. If he wants a chance to start, Washington or Chicago could be enticing on an incentive-laden deal. Otherwise, he's probably looking for a situation much like last season, when he signed with the Cowboys as a high-end backup.
After giving Prescott a massive four-year contract, the Cowboys likely won't be able to give Dalton the same type of deal he got in 2020. Dalton will likely find a team with more money or a better opportunity at playing time and wind up departing Dallas this offseason.