Cowboys Contracts: How Much Can QB Andy Dalton Make?

Dallas Cowboys Contracts: Play & Pay For QB Andy Dalton - Who Finds Himself In Place Of Dak Prescott & With A Chance To Cash In
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ARLINGTON - QB Dak Prescott's 2020 NFL "bet on myself'' wager is one he hardly lost, contrary to the mindless prattling of some. Dak's "bet'' is paying him - even now, as he's done for the year with an ankle injury that will be healed next spring - $31.309 million.

QB Andy Dalton also "bet on himself,'' in a sense. It's just that his bet started out being worth just $3 million.

Though the "gamble'' of leaving the Cincinnati Bengals, where he was a successful 10-year starter and a fixture in the community, to instead come "home'' to Texas and start anew as a backup ... might very well pay off for the Dallas Cowboys and for Dalton, too.

As CowboysSI.com was first to report, Dalton's contract as initially announced was billed as "one year and $7 million.'' ... but is actually one year and $3 million. That's right; Dalton's salary is one-tenth of Dak's salary.

But Dalton had his reasons for accepting the deal, mostly because four years ago he and his wife build their young family a home in DFW, and especially in a COVID-19 environment, being "home'' felt right to the Daltons.

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He also thought the Cowboys roster was Super Bowl-worthy (Dallas enters tonight's visit from Arizona with a 2-3 record, hardly stellar but still, entering the weekend, good enough for first place in the NFC East) ... and thought, if Dak was ever unavailable, he could step in and win.

"If anything happens to Dak, I will be able to come in,'' Dalton told me then, "and I’ve got a good team around me. The roster is so talented. From top to bottom there’s talent everywhere.''

This is being billed wrongly in some circles as "a $7 million deal.'' The facts of the math tell a vastly different story.

The salary comes with a $3 million price tag - and just a $3 million cap hit. How can he make the other "potential'' $4 million? Like so:

*One example: Dalton would have to play 50 percent of the snaps over the course of the entire season - regular season and playoffs - to reach his first big bonus, of $1 million. That is now, barring injury, going to happen.

*Another level of partial play-time and playoff success would get him another bonus. The Cowboys are NFC East favorites; that can happen, too.

*One more level of partial play-time and playoff success would get him an additional bonus.

*And finally, to earn the entire $7 million? Andy Dalton would have to play an active role in a Cowboys' Super Bowl win.

"I know we have high expectations,'' Dalton told me at camp, "and we should. We feel like we have a realistic shot at (the Super Bowl) and we’re going to do everything we can to get there.''