Andy Dalton doesn't really have a $7 million deal, and he's not competing with Dak Prescott either

Frank Schwab
·2 min read

Conspiracy theorists got their hackles up when Andy Dalton signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

What did Dalton’s reported $7 miillion deal mean for Dak Prescott? Did this signal a Prescott holdout is coming? Would the two compete (yes, people actually wondered this aloud)?

It’s a long offseason. Minds wander. That’s how we get weird theories about Bill Belichick tanking for Trevor Lawrence.

Dalton is what he is: a veteran backup who can fill in if Prescott is hurt and an insurance policy if Prescott holds out. New details of Dalton’s deal, which is nowhere near $7 million in reality, tells you that.

Dalton has a lot of potential bonuses

Mike Fisher at had Dalton’s contract details. It can max out at $7 million, but that’s unlikely.

The base salary is $3 million, Fisher said. The other $4 million is tied up in bonuses Dalton isn’t likely to reach.

Dalton would have to play 50 percent of the snaps over the regular season and playoffs to trigger a $1 million bonus. Other bonuses are tied to playing time and playoff success. To reach the full $7 million, Dalton would need to “play an active role in a Cowboys Super Bowl win,” Fisher said. Never say never, but Dalton shouldn’t start spending that money yet.

The Cowboys signed a $3 million backup with good experience. It’s a smart investment. Nothing more to see here.

Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joined Dallas on a backup deal. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joined Dallas on a backup deal. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Prescott one of NFL’s best

Fisher had already reported Dalton was no threat to Prescott, according to a source. We really didn’t need a source to tell us that.

Prescott’s contract will be complicated, and it’s possible the Cowboys won’t be able to reach an agreement before the mid-July deadline. The Dallas Morning News reported in April that the tag will be $31.4 million for one year. That’s 10 times what Dalton is likely going to make. It’s hard to imagine Prescott holding out rather than signing a $31 million tag considering his rookie deal was worth a little more than $4 million over four years, but nobody knows yet.

The Cowboys don’t know either. Prescott, who threw for 4,902 yards with 30 touchdowns last season, is one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks. Dallas wants to sign him long term but has to make contingency plans. Having a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback behind Prescott making just $3 million, just in case of a holdout or injury, is smart business.

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