So with Cam Newton and Jameis Winston ready and available, the Cowboys decided to sign Fort Worth's Andy Dalton to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million. The Cowboys had the best quarterback room in the NFL, we said. Favorites to win the NFC East, we believed.
Now the Cowboys have suffered two straight embarrassments. One at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals that you could explain away with Ezekiel Elliott coughing up the ball twice. But the more recent one — a 25-3 loss to Kyle Allen's Washington Football Team – was a clear indictment of how ill prepared Dalton is for this role before Jon Bostic's suspension-worthy hit knocked Dalton out of the game.
At 2-5, the Cowboys are still very much in the hunt for a home playoff game in the NFC East. But they'll have no chance with Ben DiNucci as their starter. And whenever Dalton can return from the head injury suffered from that hit, Dallas will need to upgrade at the position if it wishes to play in January.
As I said on CBS Sports HQ last week, I believe Dallas needs to look within its own state and sign Josh McCown away from the Philadelphia practice squad. McCown has been cashing $12,000-a-week checks from the Eagles as he remains the quarantined practice squad quarterback for Philly. But with Jalen Hurts now a half-season into his rookie year and with Carson Wentz carrying the team, the need for McCown has waned.
It was a wild Week 7 Sunday and there's a lot to go over. John Breech and Ryan Wilson join Will Brinson on the Pick Six Podcast to break it all down; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are hurting. Before the injury, Dalton was terrible under center. DiNucci may wind up being decent, but he can't deliver Ws right now. Dallas should offer the 41-year-old a starting job to join his 10th team and at least attempt to win the NFC East in a season that should otherwise be lost.
I had heard from Dallas sources that Dalton wasn't ready for the Cardinals last week. He didn't understand protection calls and never slid them over, as evidenced by Budda Baker screaming through the line for a clean sack. He struggled to communicate with his receivers non-verbally. What was he doing all offseason?
I understand this offseason was unlike any other. OTAs were virtual and training camp was truncated. He was playing behind Dak Prescott, who was off to a historic start before his ankle injury sidelined him for the season. And he was able to secure staying at home through the summer and the season.
Perhaps Dalton never thought he'd go into the game. To be sure, at the start of the season, I figured Dalton would just be a human victory cigar in the final 4 minutes of games, a la Robert Griffin III with the Ravens.
But until his injury he had overseen an offense that had put up 13 points in his two starts.
But this was a show-me year for Dalton. His time in Cincinnati ended unceremoniously and he joined a Dallas team oozing with talent. It's hard to score just 13 points through two starts with the weapons on this team. Dalton was 9 of 19 for 75 yards on Sunday before that terribly dirty hit.
Dallas cannot devote draft assets to another quarterback. The Cowboys have to consider the future and giving up anything greater than a fourth-round pick for a quarterback that may not be on the team in 2021 isn't worth it. But the team also must try to win a division that may be won with just seven wins.
The last we saw McCown he was keeping a Philadelphia team competitive in the playoffs in a tough situation. At this point is his career he's not a franchise savior, but he could save the Cowboys season in a year unlike any other.