Over the last several days, the Dallas Cowboys have been on the hunt for a backup quarterback. After the news of quarterback Tony Romo possibly missing half of the season with a broken bone in his back, the Cowboys would like to have a veteran quarterback with experience backing up rookie Dak Prescott. The acquisition will most likely come through waivers as teams are to cut the rosters down to 75 today, and then to 53 in the coming days, but the possibility of a trade is still definitely on the table. With that being said, I have narrowed down the list of potential backup quarterbacks to three names, all of which would bring value to the position at the right price.
Aaron Murray, Kansas City Chiefs (Waivers or Trade)
The least likely route the Cowboys go, in terms of acquiring a backup quarterback, is via trade, but for the right price, a player like Aaron Murray could be a great option. He is buried down the depth chart in Kansas City behind both Alex Smith and Nick Foles despite his impressive performances in the preseason, making him the “odd man out” to most people around the organization. In fact, it is rumored that players like Tyler Bray and rookie Kevin Hogan are about to pass him as well. I highly doubt the Chiefs will carry four quarterbacks, and if they do carry three, they may roll with the fifth round rookie Kevin Hogan over both Bray and Murray. This could mean that the Cowboys would be able to steal him on waivers, but if he is so expendable in Kansas City, what makes him so appealing as a backup quarterback option in Dallas? He has the skill set of a quarterback that is worth developing as he as already shown that he can make all of the throws, but has not been given a legitimate chance to showcase it. In Dallas, he will have plenty of time to complete throws with this offensive line, and he is an instant upgrade over Showers. Not to mention, the Cowboys really liked him coming out of the 2014 NFL draft. Murray may not be the best man for the job if they want experience, but in terms of future projection, he could be a bargain.
Josh Johnson, Baltimore Ravens (Waivers)
Last season, the Cowboys brought in a few veteran quarterbacks to see who Brandon Weeden’s backup would be, and Josh Johnson was one of the guys that received a workout. Although the Cowboys decided to trade a fifth round pick for Matt Cassel, I believe the interest could still be there with a player of Johnson’s skill set. With the team now giving the keys to Dak Prescott in light of Tony Romo’s back injury, they could look for a backup with a similar playing style. Sure, I can make the argument that Jameill Showers fills that role, but if they want an experienced veteran, Josh Johnson does have starting experience in this league, albeit very little. He has now played on seven different teams in his eight year career, but hasn’t seemed to stick with one yet. This season may be different considering that he has flashed a ton for this Ravens team in the preseason by both throwing the ball and extending plays with his mobility. Baltimore usually carries just two quarterbacks on the roster, making him a possible waiver wire option. If the Cowboys really want to mix up the offense with some zone read and RPO plays, as we have seen flashes of in the preseason, Josh Johnson would be on my shortlist for the backup quarterback position.
Mark Sanchez, Denver Broncos (Free Agent)
Please Cowboys fans, do not kill me for bringing up Mark Sanchez as a backup quarterback option for this team, but hear me out. It is obvious that the Cowboys do not want to take on his current contract and $4.5M base salary, which eliminates a trade possibility, but I believe the Broncos will cut him if they cannot find a trade partner. Why is this realistic? Because the Broncos will get the conditional draft pick they sent to Philadelphia in return for Mark Sanchez if he is off of the 53-man roster. Denver obviously has incentive to let him go, and if he is indeed cut, I would have to believe the Cowboys are interested. He would by far be the most experienced quarterback on the market, and despite the reputation he has with the “butt fumble,” he is a valuable backup in this league with history as a starter. By no means do I want to trade for Sanchez and take on his lofty contract, but if he is released, he is definitely my top option.