Skip Bayless says a lot of things, and not all of them make sense. Such is the life of a talking head in sports media, especially right now when topics of discussion are lacking with no live sports other than the KBO. But, regardless of how you feel about Bayless, he's pretty well-equipped to discuss the inner workings of Jerry Jones after working the Cowboys beat for the Dallas Morning News for 17 years and covered Jones in his first decade as an owner.
On Wednesday, Bayless used that knowledge to present his conspiracy theory as to why Andy Dalton chose the Cowboys over the five other teams the former Bengals QB said he received interest from.
In summation, Bayless believes that Jones cannot be sure right now that Dak Prescott will be willing to suit up for the Cowboys in 2020 if the contract situation isn't resolved, and indicated as much to Dalton, the implication being if Dalton signed with Dallas he'd be their starter in that scenario. That would explain why he signed with Dallas when he presumably would have had a better chance at a starting gig from one of the other teams interested, not to mention a chance to make way more than the $3 million he'll enjoy as a member of the Cowboys.
As far as conspiracy theories go, it's not that far out there. Prescott's situation would be tenuous under normal circumstances, but now negotiations have to be conducted with a global pandemic as a backdrop. It's hard to imagine he'd actually hold out in pursuit of a long-term deal, but it certainly would not be unprecedented. Jones also comes across as a guy who says what he needs to in order to get what he wants, even if he doesn't believe what he's saying with all of his heart.
But I'm not sure there was anything going on beneath the surface when Dallas signed Dalton. The Cowboys needed a better backup than Cooper Rush regardless of Prescott's contract situation, and Dalton happened to become available at the right time. As previously stated, it would not be unheard of for Prescott to hold out, and Dalton represents excellent insurance in that regard. Nothing conspiracy-filled about that. Bayless' issue seems to be why Dalton would choose to be a backup when he very likely had starting opportunities and more money available elsewhere, and therefore there must have been an unspoken promise of playing time.
I just don't think that has to be true. Dalton is a Texas kid who owns a house in Dallas. He's made nearly $60 million in his career and started for nine years. He never advanced past the first round of the playoffs. It really could be as simple as Dalton saw a chance to play for his hometown team that happens to have one of the best offensive supporting casts in the NFL and is poised for success in 2020. The absolute worst-case scenario for Dalton is that he never sees the field and the Cowboys disappoint again, leaving him $3 million richer with no additional wear-and-tear. The best-case? He ends up as quarterback for America's Team and gets to try and lead the most talented group of teammates he's ever had to the playoffs.
From Dalton's view, it's easy to imagine that beating going to the stringent New England football environment for pennies on the dollar or going someplace like Jacksonville or Los Angeles to compete for a starting job with zero guarantee of success. It's more fun to imagine Jones putting on his best Game of Thrones impression to convince Dalton chaos is a ladder that could favor him as a starter in 2020, but as Alex Moran constantly reminded everyone, the backup quarterback job is the best gig in sports. Dalton gets paid and will go into camp with little to no expectations surrounded by friends and family. It's as simple as that.