Matt Nichols under contract with the Cowboys

After seven rounds, Dallas takes Nichols as undrafted free agent

Matt Nichols was recently signed by the Dallas Cowboys after a successful career at Eastern Washington University.

THE BIG TIME: Matt Nichols was recently signed by the Dallas Cowboys after a successful career at Eastern Washington University.

While Matt Nichols name wasn't called during the three day, seven round NFL draft, four teams wasted no time in trying to wrap up the 2005 West Valley graduate and former Eastern Washington University quarterback.

The Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and the Miami Dolphins said Greg Grandell, West Valley's varsity football coach and a former coach of Nichols. According to Grandell about 10 minutes after the draft ended Saturday afternoon, the Cowboys called along with the other teams.

Grandell said that Nichols decided on Dallas because it gave him the best chance at becoming an NFL quarterback.

According the April 26 edition of The Dallas Morning Star News, Nichols and 16 other free agents are under contract with the Cowboys. Nichols will be at the 3-day mini camp the Cowboys are holding on Thursday, said Grandell.

Nichols is currently a forth string quarterback on the Cowboys practice squad and will make between $60,000 and $70,000 a year. Grandell said Dallas isn't bringing in anyone else and that Nichols will be battling for the third string position against Stephen McGee, who currently holds that spot.

If Nichols does take the third string quarterback spot on the Cowboys roster, he'll be looking at a three year $1 million contract, according to Grandell.

According to an ESPN Northwestern Report on April 24, Nichols' Eastern Washington coach, Beau Baldwin, was surprised Nichols went undrafted, but confident that he would land somewhere.

"You never know -- but yes, it surprised me a little bit," he said. "If I had to guess one way or another I would have thought he would get drafted. At the same time, nothing every totally surprises me. Regardless of whether he was taken in the sixth or seventh round, or as a free agent, Matt still is going to be able to show what he can do. I feel confident that he has the skills and mental makeup to make a team," said Baldwin in the ESPN article.

"I'm proud of him because he's worked very hard for it," said Grandell. "He's a good player and was an academic player of the week four or five times." He added that it was exciting for the coaches and the school too, but that Nichols had earned the opportunity.

"His coach (Wade Wilson) was a Division I quarterback and Tony Romo was a long shot, so he's in a good place," said Grandell.

Matt Moore, the current starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers was the fourth string quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. The Cowboys were going to sign him to their practice squad, when the Panthers signed him to be their third string quarterback. Moore was also an undrafted free agent.

Grandell cited Moore's experience with Dallas when explaining why the situation was a good fit for Nichols.

In college Nichols assaulted Eastern Washington University, Big Sky Conference and NCAA record books with a vengeance and finished his career with the league's career passing, total offense and touchdown passes records. In total, he broke 14 school records during his career, including six Big Sky Conference marks.

Nichols finished with 12,616 passing yards in his career to move into sixth in NCAA Football Championship history. He broke the career passing record in the 46-year old Big Sky Conference of 12,207 held by Weber State's Jamie Martin (1989-92). Nichols had 13,308 yards of total offense in his career to rank sixth in Football Championship Subdivision history (the division was created in 1978). Nichols also finished his career with a school-record 96 touchdown passes to equal the Big Sky record and rank 10th in FCS history. He had a passing efficiency rating of 162.7 and was the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2007.

© 2010 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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