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3 Dallas Cowboys quarterback options to back up Dak Prescott

Vincent Frank

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If the 2021 NFL preseason has taught us anything in Big D, it’s that the Dallas Cowboys don’t have a proven backup quarterback behind the injured Dak Prescott.

This came to light after Prescott suffered a shoulder injury during early stages of training camp. With him sidelined through the first two exhibition games, quarterback play has been awful for Dallas.

Ben DiNucci figured into the conversation for the top backup role. After a three-interception performance against the Houston Texans this past weekend, he could potentially be out of a job altogether. Meanwhile, Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert don’t seem to be viable backups.

Even with Prescott set to go Week 1 against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s some pressure in Texas. That includes the Dallas Cowboys’ brass likely looking outside of the organization to find a legit No. 2. Below, we look at three options.

Dallas Cowboys trade for Nick Foles

Dallas Cowboys trade for Nick Foles
Aug 14, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) gives a double thumbs up before a play against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

With Dallas up against the cap, getting a cheap backup for Prescott has to be the focus here. That’s where the 32-year-old Foles come into play. Any team acquiring the Chicago Bears current No. 3 quarterback would be taking on a mere $4 million cap hit for the 2021 season. That’s more than doable for the Cowboys.

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Despite some regression on the part of the Super Bowl MVP, Foles would be a major upgrade over what Dallas has behind Prescott. He’d likely cost a conditional late-round pick in a trade with Chicago, too. Of all the options, this might make the most sense for Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys lure Alex Smith back

Dallas Cowboys sign Alex Smith
Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The 37-year-old Smith just recently accepted a one-year deal to be an NFL analyst on ESPN. This seems to suggest that the former No. 1 pick has moved on from his playing days completely. For good reason. He was looking to find a team that would enable him to compete for a starting job during free agency. That never came to fruition. After throwing just six touchdowns against eight interceptions last season following a devastating leg injury, it’s also clear that Smith is no longer the player he once was.

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However, Dallas has to do what it can to find an upgrade in the quarterback room. Despite the aforementioned complexities, kicking the tires on this three-time Pro Bowl performer would make a ton of sense. Whether the Boys can pry Smith out of “retirement” is another question altogether.

Dallas Cowboys trade for Jarrett Stidham

New-England-Patriots-QB-Jarrett-Stidham
Jun 15, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) participates in a drill during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Stuck as the Patriots’ No. 4 quarterback behind Cam Newton, Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer, there’s a darn good chance that this former fourth-round pick will be moved ahead of Week 1. It could come via the waiver wire or a potential trade.

Either way, the Auburn product becomes a real option for Dallas. He’s still only 25 years old and was held in high regard by the Patriots’ brass prior to some inconsistencies as a sophomore last season. Not only would Stidham act as an upgrade, he’d potentially be a long-term option behind Dak in Big D.

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