The “Red Rifle” is calling his shot.
Andy Dalton, long-time Cincinnati Bengal, understands that his role with the Cowboys is to back up current starter Dak Prescott, but he’s still fully confident in his ability to be QB1 on a depth chart — whether it’s in Dallas or elsewhere.
“I believe I’m a starter in this league,” Dalton said Wednesday, per USA Today. “And I feel like I could bring a lot to the table. I know I’m on a one-year deal. I understand the market’s going to be a little bit different next offseason.”
Dalton’s signing prompted lots of discussion as to his standing with the Cowboys. He’s still a starting-caliber quarterback in the league, but he’s entering a room starring Prescott, presumably the Dallas starter entering the season, barring injury.
On a $3 million deal with incentives — backup QB money, really — Dalton understands the situation at hand and squashed any thoughts that he signed with Dallas to challenge Prescott for the starting gig.
“Dak (Prescott is) the starter on this team,” Dalton said. “Dak has played really well, and I knew the situation that I was coming into. … I felt like I could come in here and help this team win, obviously help Dak out as much as I can. Hopefully, this sets me up for my future.”
If Dalton’s motives are truly to learn, help and enter the market again next offseason, then he’s in good hands. Along with Dallas’ incredibly impressive skill position group that features Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott and rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb, Dalton will be learning under Mike McCarthy, who has a reputation as a “QB whisperer.”
Some outlets speculated that signing Dalton could be a message to Prescott or a signaling that Dalton could be in line to get playing time this season. Whatever the reasoning may be for Dallas signing Dalton, he’s saying all the right things early on.