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January 19, 2012

Cowboys to replace Jon Kitna... with who?

Jon Kitna has retired, leaving the Cowboys to figure out who will backup Tony Romo next season. Do they trust Stephen McGee enough to promote him from No. 3? Do they draft a quarterback to compete with McGee? Or do they sign a veteran?

"It’s a very important position, as we all know," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "So, you want to make sure you allocate the resources necessary to that position. Jon Kitna was great for us the last three years, had a chance to play last year and played really, really well for our team and was a real leader for our team. But he’s retired now, and he’s in Seattle and enjoying life after football. So we have to make some decisions there."

McGee, 26, was a fourth-round draft pick in 2009. He enters 2012 in the last year of his rookie contract. He has started one game in his career and played in two others, completing 56.1 percent of his passes for 420 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and an 82.4 passer rating.

Vice president Stephen Jones said recently that the Cowboys would be comfortable with McGee as Romo's backup.

"Stephen McGee has gotten some real good experience the last couple of years, playing in games, and we’ll continue to evaluate his progress going forward," Garrett said. "We like what he’s done. But it’s an important position, and we’ve got to make sure we have enough people if for no other reason than guys get hurt, and you better have a suitable guy who can go in there and play and help your team going forward. We’ll keep evaluating that spot just like all the other spots on our team."

The Cowboys have had veteran backups the past few years, with Brad Johnson in 2007 and '08 and Kitna the past three years. Johnson was 39 when he joined the team. Kitna is 39 now.

Free-agent quarterbacks who could be signed as a backup include Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, David Carr, Charlie Batch, Shaun Hill, Sage Rosenfels, Vince Young, Derek Anderson, Rex Grossman and Brady Quinn.

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFLCharean




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I say we go after Peyton Manning.

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