FORT WORTH, Texas — As far as former TCU star quarterback Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys are concerned, there is no controversy surrounding his presence on the roster as a backup to starter Dak Prescott.
His role is clearly defined and he joined the Cowboys on a one-year deal with his eyes wide open.
“I think that, along with everybody else, I know the situation I’m going into,” Dalton said during a conference call with local reporters on Wednesday. “Dak has played really well, and I knew the situation that I was coming into. Because I’ve been a starter in this league, won a lot of games and have put some really good seasons together, I think that’s just everybody on the outside’s gonna view it that way.
“But Dak’s the starter on this team. If for some reason anything were to happen to him, I’m going to be able to step in and do everything I can to help this team win.”
Team Vice President Stephen Jones echoed a similar sentiment during separate local radio interviews on Wednesday. He said Dalton’s presence has no bearing on Prescott’s status as the starter and no impact on the stalled contract negotiations between the two sides.
Jones said Dalton offers the Cowboys insurance and peace of mind, similar to the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago when Nick Foles stepped in for an injured Carson Wentz and carried them to that franchise’s first Super Bowl title.
“Obviously, it has no bearing on Dak,” Jones said of Dalton’s signing in an interview with 105.3 The Fan. “Dak is the quarterback of our franchise now, and for many years to come. We’ve gotta get his contract. We’ve gotta get over that hurdle, but we’ll do it. It’ll ultimately get done.”
“To have a guy like Andy Dalton come in here — not unlike what (the Eagles) 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,” Jones said in a separate interview Wednesday on 1310 The Ticket.
“Certainly you can lay your head on the pillow better at night knowing you have someone like Andy Dalton,” Jones added.
Dalton, 32, was a nine-year starter with the Cincinnati Bengals before being released last week after the team selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Dalton still views himself as a starter and plans to look for a job leading a team during free agency next year. But, for now, his focus is on being a solid addition to the club, not a distraction or a hindrance.
He’s already texted Prescott, letting him know he wants to help in any way he can. He said Prescott sent an appreciative response, saying he was excited to work with him as well.
“This is my first time going through that, coming in knowing that, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna be the starter,’ ” Dalton said. “Fortunately, I’ve been around a lot of great backup quarterbacks, guys that have helped me out. And so my mindset is I’m going to try to be the biggest asset to this team, try to help out this offense, help out Dak, help out everybody as much as I can.”
“It’s a different perspective for me, since I’ve been a starter the last nine years, but I understand the position I’m coming into and the role I’m going to play.”
Dalton acknowledges that coming home to Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area has made the adjustment to his new role and new reality easier. He grew up in Houston, played college football in Fort Worth at TCU and he and his wife have made University Park in Dallas their offseason home. So there are tons of relatives on both sides of his family in the area and he doesn’t have to learn a new city.
“It’s definitely a luxury knowing that I’ll be able to stay at home,” Dalton said. “Just to come back to Texas, come back to Dallas, we’ve got a lot of ties here, a lot of roots, spent a lot of my life over this way. It definitely feels nice to be coming home.”
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