Andy Dalton hasn’t been a great playoff quarterback in his NFL career, but if he can get the Cowboys to the postseason, he’ll at least rake in a hefty bonus.
Worked into Dalton’s one-year contract he signed with Dallas (6-9) in May is a $1 million bonus for making the for making the playoffs. In order to collect, Dalton had to have played 50 percent of the snaps in the season — he’s done that thanks to Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury in Week 5.
Here’s what you need to know about Dalton’s chances of cashing in on those extra seven figures.
How the Cowboys win the NFC East in Week 17
Dallas needs two things to happen to make the playoffs in Week 17. The first is simple: Beat the Giants (5-10) at 1 p.m. ET.
The Cowboys enter Sunday with the same record as the Washington Football Team but losing out on tiebreaker. If Dallas wins Sunday afternoon, it puts the pressure on Washington.
Washington plays the Eagles on “Sunday Night Football” to close out the regular season. If the WFT wins, they’re in the playoffs. But if Washington loses and Dallas already won Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys will head to the postseason as the NFC East champion and No. 4 seed in the NFC.
How Andy Dalton earns contract bonus
Dalton signed with the Cowboys in May on a one-year contract to back up Dak Prescott. Dalton’s deal is worth $3 million guaranteed ($2 million base salary and $1 million signing bonus). The contract includes another $4 million in incentives.
The first incentive can be cashed if Dalton leads the Cowboys to the playoffs Sunday. The requirement was playing 50 percent of the snaps while making the postseason, and Sunday will be Dalton’s ninth start of the year. So if Dallas does indeed make the playoffs, Dalton will earn another $1 million.
The remaining $3 million would be earned through wins in the playoff’s first round ($500,000), second round ($500,000), NFC Championship Game ($750,000) and Super Bowl ($1.25 million).
While it’s unlikely a 7-9 NFC East champ goes on a run to the Super Bowl, Dalton has at least positioned the Cowboys to have a chance after taking over for Prescott. Dallas is 4-4 in Dalton’s eight starts entering Week 17, and he’s thrown for 1,926 yards and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions while completing 65.4 percent of his passes.
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