Two days after his release from the Cincinnati Bengals, quarterback Andy Dalton agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys to back up Dak Prescott, multiple outlets reported Saturday night, May 2.
Dalton's deal is reportedly worth up to $7 million, with $3 million guaranteed. The 32-year-old, who played in college at TCU, already has a home in Dallas and won't need to move, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.
He had been connected to the Jacksonville Jaguars -- whose offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, coached Dalton for two years in Cincinnati -- the New York Jets and the New England Patriots.
Dalton was released Thursday after nine seasons with the Bengals, who drafted LSU's Joe Burrow with the first overall pick last weekend. Dalton was due to earn $17.7 million in 2020, the final season of a six-year contract extension he signed in August 2014.
He told the Bengals' website in a story published Friday that the timing of his release limited his options.
"This year there were a good amount of quarterbacks that were available," Dalton said. "I think it would have worked out differently if I had been a free agent when the new league year started (in March). I was still under contract, and that hurt me."
Dalton ranks first in Bengals history in touchdown passes (204) and second in passing yards (31,594). The three-time Pro Bowl selection started 133 of the Bengals' 144 regular-season games over the past nine seasons and had a 70-61-2 record.
He threw for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 games last year, getting benched briefly in the middle of the season in favor of rookie Ryan Finley.
Prescott received the exclusive franchise tag from the Cowboys before he could hit free agency, giving him a one-year, $31.4 million deal. The sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension.
The move did not sit well with some associated with the Cowboys
Former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant slammed the decision, taking up the cause for current Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.
Bryant, who last played for the Cowboys in 2017, called out his former team on social media for adding Dalton as Prescott attempts to negotiate a long-term contract to remain in Dallas.
"Nothing against Andy dalton because I think he's a great player..but the cowboys are extremely out of line... Pay Dak...," Bryant posted to Twitter on Saturday, shortly after the arrival of Dalton was reported. "I watched the cowboys pay Tony (Romo) Twice once without a winning rec... I guess the cowboys viewing the QB position a plug in piece because of the dominant offense"
Bryant is far from the only one making the observation, with many NFL pundits acknowledging Dalton's signing as possible contract leverage. Also noted is that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was able to quickly secure a $3 million deal with Dalton, a Texas native, that reportedly could be worth up to $7 million in incentives.
Negotiations with Prescott have not been as efficient, although he can make $31 million in 2020 after the Cowboys handed him the franchise tag.
In 64 games over four seasons, all as a starter, Prescott, 26, has thrown for 15,778 yards, 97 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. In 133 games over nine seasons, all as a starter. Dalton, 32, has thrown for 31,594 yards, 204 touchdowns and 118 interceptions.