Andy Dalton is coming home to Texas as Dak Prescott’s backup with the Dallas Cowboys.
Dalton and the Cowboys agreed to a one-year deal that guarantees the former Cincinnati starter $3 million and could be worth up to $7 million, two people with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday night.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced. The agreement was first reported by ESPN.
The Cowboys reached a deal with Dalton two days after he was released by the Bengals. That moved cleared the way for No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow, who led LSU to the national championship.
Dalton, who was born and raised in the Houston area, led TCU to an undefeated season that included a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin during the 2010 season before the Bengals drafted him in the second round.
The Cowboys have relied on the untested Cooper Rush as Prescott’s backup the past two seasons. Dalton marks their biggest investment in a veteran backup since Prescott replaced the injured Tony Romo in 2016 and ended up taking his job for good.
Dalton started 133 games for the Bengals and led the franchise’s best stretch of playoff appearances — five straight from 2011-15 — but couldn’t get that elusive win.
Cincinnati lost in the first round each time, setting an NFL record. Dalton had a broken thumb and was sidelined for the last of those playoff appearances, which ended in a last-minute meltdown and an 18-16 loss to Pittsburgh during the 2015 season.
Coach Zac Taylor signaled the end of Dalton’s career in Cincinnati by benching him for three games midway through last year’s 2-14 season, a move that shocked Dalton and his longtime teammates. Dalton was upset the Bengals didn’t try to trade him before the deadline.
The Cowboys have placed the franchise tag on Prescott, who hasn’t signed the one-year tender worth about $31 million. The sides have until July 15 to get a long-term contract done.