FRISCO, Texas – It appears the Cowboys will have a new backup quarterback behind Dak Prescott in 2021.
Free agent Andy Dalton has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bears, according to NFL Media and reports, giving him a chance to become an NFL starter once again.
After signing a one-year deal with Dallas last May, Dalton went 4-5 as a fill-in starter for Prescott and finished out the Cowboys' Oct. 11 comeback win over the Giants after Prescott's season-ending ankle injury.
A concussion and a bout with COVID-19 sidelined Dalton for two games in November, but he returned to help the Cowboys win three straight and keep playoff hopes possible before a loss to the Giants in the season finale.
After that game, Dalton sounded like someone ready to test the market in March for the first time in his career – and perhaps seek a starting opportunity elsewhere.
"I feel like I can play, and I feel like I can help a team win," he said. "Hopefully, with the film that I put out this year, people see that and value me in that way. I obviously feel like I still got a lot of good football left, and we'll see how it all plays out."
The Cowboys wanted to bring back Dalton as the No. 2 behind Prescott again, but Dalton's reported $10 million offer from Chicago -- and most importantly, a chance to start -- was probably too good to pass up.
Who backs up Prescott now? At the moment, the most logical choice is Garrett Gilbert, who played well in one start against the Steelers last season. The Cowboys signed Gilbert to a two-year deal in October. He's set to have a $920,000 base salary for 2021, according to Spotrac.
Ben DiNucci, last year's seventh-round pick who made an unexpected spot start last season in a loss to the Eagles, is also under contract. Cooper Rush spent part of last season on the practice squad and signed a reserve/future contract in January.