The Dallas Cowboys’ regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went from bad to vividly worse on Sunday, as QB Dak Prescott was forced to leave the 19-3 loss in the fourth quarter due to a hand injury. According to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, that injury will require surgery.
Per USA Today’s Jori Epstein, Jones told reporters that surgery is required to fix a joint above Prescott’s thumb, which was injured when Buccaneers pass rusher Shaquil Barrett smashed into the QB’s hand during a passing attempt.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to miss time due to thumb surgery
Jones told reporters that Prescott will miss “several weeks” due to the procedure. Prescott missed 11 games in 2020 due to a major leg injury but has otherwise missed just one game during his career.
Thumb injury aside, Prescott’s performance against the Buccaneers was extremely disappointing. He completed just 14 of 29 passes for 134 yards and an interception. He led just one scoring drive on the night, finishing with a 47.2 passer rating.
Following the injury, Prescott was replaced by longtime backup Cooper Rush. The backup QB completed 7 of 13 passes for 64 yards in garbage duty with the game out of hand.
Who will replace Prescott for several weeks?
The Cowboys weren’t very aggressive in finding an upgrade at backup QB this offseason. Rush, a holdover from the Jason Garrett era, has largely served as Prescott’s primary backup throughout his career. The Cowboys also have former Carolina Panthers draft pick Will Grier on the practice squad.
With the season just beginning, the Cowboys might be inclined to look elsewhere to replace Prescott. Rush and Grier weren’t good enough to make the Cowboys’ initial 53-man roster. Why is either of them a solid pick to replace Prescott, even for a few weeks?
The Cowboys have dealt with a plethora of significant injuries over the past few months, from left tackle Tyron Smith to wideout James Washington. But Prescott is clearly the most irreplaceable of the bunch, and his early exit to the trainer’s room is concerning for a team that was expected to contend for a division title. With Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy seemingly on his last leg, he might try to get Jones to spend on a worthwhile replacement.
Former NFL MVP Cam Newton is still available in free agency. He might make the most sense. There’s also San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who recently reworked his deal in the Bay Area. Perhaps the Cowboys would be inclined to deal a high Day 3 pick for Garoppolo to get through the muck of Prescott’s recovery timeline.