Andy Dalton knows that 2020 will be a different type of season for him. For the first time since he entered the NFL, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback is not looked at as the starter for his franchise. Instead, he's set to serve as the backup to Dak Prescott after inking a one-year deal with the Cowboys back in May. This is quite the change for Dalton after starting in all 133 games he's played in the NFL, all of which came with the Bengals. With Cincinnati drafting Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick this past spring, however, it put an end to his nine-year run with the organization and put him on the path to eventually land in Dallas.
While this role is a new one for Dalton, he knows what he's getting into upon signing with the club and has reiterated that his main mission for 2020 is to help Prescott and told the franchise signal-caller as such.
"Dak's been great ever since I signed here. I feel like our relationship has just gotten better and better, we've gotten to know each other really well," said Dalton, via the official team website. "It's been a fun working relationship. I told him I'm here to help him and serve in any way I can and bring my experience to the quarterback room. I'm excited about the opportunities we're going to have this year."
While Prescott is the clear QB1 in Dallas, Dalton does have double the number of starts and pass attempts compared to Prescott over their careers and has reached the playoffs four times. That's plenty of experience that he can now try to lean on to help Prescott from the sideline.
"It could be a rotation. It could be a linebacker position that is tipping off something else," he said. "It may not be covered. It may not be said. But it may be something I would be thinking about, so I kind of bring it up, 'Hey what do you see here. What is going to happen next when this happens?' That just comes with the experience of playing."
Dalton, a Texas native, noted that being a part of a good organization with a strong coaching staff along with the fact that the Cowboys are close to home were key factors in making his free agent decision. Still, there's no reason to think that Dalton can't get back to being a starting quarterback somewhere in the league one day.
"This year, if I'm not playing, the rest my body will get could be a good thing and set me up for the next half of my career," he said.
After what can be considered a pivot year for Dalton consisting of rest, mentoring Prescott, and learning under first-year Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, it will be fascinating to see what the next step for him will be and, more importantly, where.