The biggest surprise for the Cowboys 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 back up 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.
Cowboys make trade
The Cowboys traded for offensive lineman Ryan Cook, giving the Miami Dolphins a seventh-round pick in 2013. Cook was expected to be among the Dolphins' cuts, but by trading for him, the Cowboys assured themselves of getting a veteran who can play the interior of the line.
Cook, a second-round draft choice of the Vikings in 2006, has played tackle, guard and center. The Dolphins acquired him off the waiver wire last year, and he played guard and center for them in 2011.
Cook, scheduled to earn $1 million this season, has started 40 games, mostly at right tackle. But he also has started games at right guard and at center.
"He's been a starter," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on his radio show on KRLD-FM. "He's got some length about him. He's about 6-5, has some good, long arms, and all of that is a positive for him."