Kellen Moore is not just the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback by default, but he is also the backup quarterback by choice.
The Cowboys were interested in bringing Josh McCown to play behind starter Dak Prescott in 2017.
But he ended up out of the Cowboys price range with a $6 million guaranteed contract with the New York Jets.
Per a source, the Cowboys had no interest in paying McCown more than $2 million.
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The team turned back to Moore, who signed a one-year deal for $775,000.
After disappointments with expensive veteran backups in Kyle Orton, Matt Cassell, Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez in recent years, the Cowboys are happy with the decision to give Moore his long-awaited opportunity.
Before Prescott took over for the injured Tony Romo in 2016 and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 mark, the team was 1-13 from 2013-2015 without Romo under center.
“All those older veteran guys, all they have ever done is prove they can’t be the guy,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “Kellen has never had the chance to prove he shouldn’t be the guy.”
Moore was actually slotted to get that opportunity last year when he entered training camp as the presumed backup to Tony Romo.
But Moore suffered a broken leg two weeks into training camp. Prescott, who was pegged as a fourth-round rookie developmental project for the future, took over and fashioned the finest rookie season for any quarterback in NFL history.
“Kellen is our guy,” Jones said. “He was going to be the guy last year. This was before Dak was Dak. It was going to be Romo, Kellen and bring Dak along. Kellen is our guy. He knows the game. He knows the system.”
Moore, 27, spent his first three NFL seasons on Detroit’s practice squad. But he has good relationship with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who came to Dallas from Detroit.
So Moore knows the system and the Cowboys are comfortable with him.
He missed last season due to injury, but played three games for the Cowboys in 2015, including two starts.
Moore completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 779 yards, with four touchdowns and six interceptions.