The Dallas Cowboys had a disastrous start to the 2022 NFL season with a 19-3 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and were the only team in the league not to score a touchdown.
Piling onto the loss, the Cowboys will be without Dak Prescott for an extended period as he suffered a thumb injury in the fourth quarter, hurting the team’s future NFL odds.
As it currently stands, Cooper Rush will be the starting quarterback for the Cowboys. He is the only other quarterback on the active roster, but that could change soon with Will Grier on the practice squad.
The good news is that Prescott will avoid a trip to the injured reserve.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Cowboys’ quarterback room, the team could also look outside the organization for an answer to the position.
So here are some options for who could take over as QB1 in Dallas.
Cooper Rush // Dallas Cowboys
This isn’t Rush’s first rodeo filling in for Prescott, as he started a game in 2021 when Prescott missed the matchup with a calf injury.
In the start, he completed 60% of his passes and threw for 325 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the 20-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Rush threw the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds left.
Rush played the rest of the season sparingly, going 6 of 7 for 97 yards and a touchdown.
He spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys and re-signed with the team after Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in 2020. Rush knows the system and has been with the organization almost as long as Prescott, so it makes sense he’s the top option.
Will Grier // Dallas Cowboys
Grier is still on Dallas’ practice squad, but that could always change. Grier was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2019 and only saw two games of action. He struggled in his first start, throwing for 224 yards and three interceptions in a loss.
Grier started the following week but only threw for four yards and a pick-six before leaving the game with a foot injury.
Grier was claimed off waivers by the Cowboys in 2021 and was on the roster for the season before being waived and signing to the practice squad this year. Given his previous struggles and how Dallas only kept two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, Grier would be an emergency option.
Cam Newton // Free Agent
The free-agent option that makes the most sense is Cam Newton, and Dallas should strongly consider bringing the veteran in. Newton spent most of his career with the Panthers before a one-year stint with the New England Patriots. In 2021, Newton went unsigned for over two months before re-signing with the Panthers following an injury to Sam Darnold.
In five starts (eight total games), Newton completed 54.8% of his passes and threw for 684 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. He had better success on the ground, rushing for 230 yards and five touchdowns on 47 attempts. Newton went on to lose all five of his starts.
Even though he struggled last season, Newton can still win games at the NFL level. With Prescott not missing significant time, a veteran like Newton could be an excellent short-term replacement.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Now we get into trading for a quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo at the top of the list. With Trey Lance taking over in San Francisco and the organization signing Garoppolo to a one-year contract, he should take his talents to Dallas.
His stats weren’t spectacular, but Garoppolo was successful during his tenure with the 49ers when he was fully healthy. He had two full seasons with the team, and both times, he brought the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
In 2021, Garoppolo completed 68% of his passes, threw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, and led the NFL with 12.7 yards per completion.
Garoppolo has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he could waive it to join a contender like the Cowboys. The team’s performance against the Buccaneers is not promising, but they can bounce back with a competent quarterback.
Taylor Heinicke // Washington Commanders
The Cowboys could look within their division for Taylor Heinicke for the second trade option. With Carson Wentz taking over in Washington and the team drafting Sam Howell in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, Heinicke’s time with the Commanders looks to be over after this season.
Heinicke made noise in his return to the NFL in 2020, nearly beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs. Ryan Fitzpatrick was initially named the starter in 2021, but Heinicke took over in the season opener after Fitzpatrick went down with an injury.
Heinicke finished the season completing 65% of his passes and throwing for 3,419 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. He also rushed for 313 yards and one touchdown on 60 carries.
Heinicke is one of the best backups in the NFL and should be on everyone’s radar if their starting quarterback goes down with an injury. He might be a cheap trade option for the Cowboys and could be the best fit for Dallas’ offense.
Featured Image: USA Today