Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys search for young QB to groom behind Prescott, Moore

The Cowboys didn’t sign a quarterback in free agency or draft a quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they are set at the position.

The Cowboys re-signed Kellen Moore to back up Dak Prescott, and they will give undrafted free agent signees Cooper Rush and Austin Appleby a look. At the same time, the Cowboys will keep their eye on the waiver wire at the end of training camp.

Last year, after losing Tony Romo and Moore during training camp, they signed veteran Mark Sanchez the week of the season opener after the Broncos released him. This year, the Cowboys likely are looking for more of a developmental prospect to groom on the practice squad.

They signed Moore to the practice squad the week of the 2015 season opener after the Lions released him. Moore made the active roster after Romo fractured his collarbone and started two games that season.

“There’s a lot of moving parts there and there are a lot of teams that like to carry two [quarterbacks on their 53-player roster] in this league,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “So we could be out there looking for a young guy to put on the practice squad, and he might not start on our roster in training camp. So it doesn’t necessarily rule out the fact that we’ll have a guy on the practice squad. At the same time, if we see just the right veteran guy who gets us interested, then we’ll look at that as well.”

The Cowboys hoped to draft University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya in the seventh round as a developmental prospect. But the Lions took Kaaya in the sixth.

The Cowboys planned to come out of the draft with a quarterback among their nine picks, but it didn’t happen. Dallas has drafted only two quarterbacks the past 15 years, including Prescott in the fourth round in 2016.

They hope either one of the undrafted free agents shows some promise or they find a young quarterback on waivers to groom.

“We probably are going to have to keep our eyes wide open,” Jones said. “I always go back to player acquisition is 365 days a year. We had a couple of guys targeted in the draft that we thought might fall to us that we could pick and if we had done that, then we probably would have been ready to stand pat. The fact that we didn’t get one, we’ll look at these college free agents that we brought in. …Then, we’ll have to make some decisions from there in terms of what our next steps should be. Our plan was going into the draft, if we could come out of there with a quarterback, it would have been really nice. But it just didn’t work out in terms of how they fell in this particular draft. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of guys that we were fired up about drafting and they came off -- should have known it -- they came off a little earlier than we thought they would.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, though, is more comfortable with the team’s backup quarterback situation than in recent years because of Prescott’s youth.

“Probably more comfortable at backup with Dak, than let’s say I was with Tony because of Tony’s years in the league and the fact that he had had injury,” Jerry Jones said. “I would never dismiss injury at any position with any player, but if I could look at Dak in a cylinder or just a pretty narrow view and say he has as good of a chance if anybody does of having a good health situation for the year, and I feel as good as I think I could feel. He’s that sound. But on the other hand we’ve got to have a plan in case he’s not out there, and I’m satisfied we’re into good with Moore, and we’ll be adjusting that as we move along.”

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