The biggest surprise for the Cowboys today wasn’t who they cut, but who they didn’t. Dallas elected to keep a third quarterback, meaning Stephen McGee is back for a fourth season.
Most media and fans had written off McGee’s chances of making the 53-player roster after the Cowboys gave free agent Kyle Orton $5 million in guaranteed money in the off-season.
McGee, a fourth-round pick in 2009, has been the third-string quarterback the past three seasons behind Tony Romo and Jon Kitna. This year, in the final year of his contract, he will backup Romo and Orton.
The Cowboys debated whether to keep only two quarterbacks, according to a source, and McGee was on the bubble until the deadline. Rudy Carpenter, who was battling McGee for the third spot, is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers. But the Cowboys have seen Romo injured twice the past two years, and, in 2010, they also lost Kitna.
Coach Jason Garrett felt more comfortable with three quarterbacks on his 53-player roster.
The 2010 season finale is the only regular-season game McGee has started. He went 11-for-27 for 127 yards and a touchdown in a 14-13 victory over the Eagles after Romo and Kitna were lost for the season.
In 2011, Romo played through a rib injury and punctured lung early in the season and a right hand injury late in the season.
Each of the past two Decembers, the Cowboys have signed quarterback Chris Greisen to the practice squad as insurance.
-- Charean Williams