Andy Dalton, released by the Cincinnati Bengals after nine years as a starting quarterback, has agreed to terms on a one-year NFL contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys, who announced the deal in a Saturday night website posting, have a starter in Dak Prescott, who will make $31.4 million in the 2020 season after being named the team’s “franchise” player in March.
Dalton, who lives in Dallas and was a star at nearby Texas Christian University, would be a major upgrade as a backup over Cooper Rush, who has thrown only three passes in three seasons behind Prescott.
The Cowboys want to sign a long-term deal with Prescott, one that could make him the NFL’s top-paid passer, by a July 15 deadline.
Dalton, 32, completed 2,757 of 4,449 passes for 31,594 yards and 204 touchdowns with 118 interceptions in nine seasons with Cincinnati.
The Bengals, first-round playoff losers in Dalton’s first five seasons, have endured four losing seasons since, including last year’s league-worst 2-14 campaign.
That flop led Cincinnati to draft college star quarterback Joe Burrow with the top overall pick and set up Dalton’s release on Thursday.
Former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who was released by the club in April 2018 after eight seasons in Dallas, ripped the move by the Cowboys in a series of Twitter postings.
“Nothing against Andy dalton because I think he’s a great player..but the cowboys are extremely out of line… Pay Dak,” Bryant wrote.
“I guess the cowboys viewing the QB position a plug in piece because of the dominant offense.”
“Dak should have got paid as soon as the season was over.”
The Cowboys have not won a Super Bowl, or even reached a conference final, since taking their third NFL title in four seasons in the 1995 campaign.
Dallas went 8-8 last season, missing the playoffs for the third time in five seasons.
Prescott, 26, has guided the Cowboys for four seasons, going 40-24 as a starter.