Dallas Cowboys: Dalton Williams

Mike Kafka signs with Bucs, not Cowboys

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
IRVING, Texas -- After working out for the Dallas Cowboys last week, quarterback Mike Kafka has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Cowboys had interest in Kafka last June when they put a waiver claim in on him following his release from the New England Patriots, but he ended up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who also claimed him.

The Cowboys believe Tony Romo will be ready for the offseason program after late-December back surgery, but they want to have at least three quarterbacks on the roster with the expanded rosters when the offseason program begins. Kyle Orton is the only other quarterback on the roster signed for 2014 and his future is somewhat cloudy because of the Cowboys’ salary-cap situation and his desire to keep playing.

Last year the Cowboys had Orton, Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams around as Romo recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back.

Leading into the Week 17 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys worked out Derek Carr, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton, Richard Bartel and Caleb Hanie before signing Jon Kitna out of retirement.

Three spots open after Cowboys cut two

July, 17, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have three roster spots available before the team flies to Oxnard, Calif., on Friday for the opening of training camp after releasing tackle J.B. Shugarts and quarterback Dalton Williams.

Shugarts signed with the Cowboys at the end of May and went through the June minicamp. Williams, a Coppell, Texas, native, signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in April.

With last week’s release of fullback Lawrence Vickers, the Cowboys have 87 players on the roster but expect to fill the vacancies upon arrival in Oxnard. It is possible they could gain a fourth roster spot if Josh Brent's situation is clarified by the end of the week.

The Cowboys worked out several players (quarterbacks Alex Tanney, Kyle Padron and Chase Clement, and receivers Lavasier Tuinei, DeWayne Peace, Gino Crump, Devin Goda and Antoine Hicks) on Tuesday and could look to add one of the quarterbacks to fill in behind Tony Romo, Kyle Orton and Nick Stephens.

Cowboys position series: Quarterbacks

June, 23, 2013
The first in ESPNDallas.com’s 10-part position series:

Roster locks: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton

On the bubble: None

Long shots: Nick Stephens, Dalton Williams

What’s new?: Romo has much more money and power. He negotiated the richest contract in franchise history -- seven years, $119.5 million with $55 million guaranteed -- and the right to have a strong voice throughout the game-planning process.

Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and the Cowboys' offensive line as training camp approaches.

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Oh, Romo also missed all of organized team activities and minicamp after having a cyst removed from his back. The Cowboys insist there’s no reason to be concerned about their franchise quarterback being ready for training camp, but he missed a month’s worth of work with rookie center Travis Frederick (drafted to give Romo an extra half-second of time), tight end Gavin Escobar and receiver Terrance Williams.

Much was made about giving that kind of money to a 33-year-old quarterback with only one career playoff win, but the Cowboys didn’t have any better options. It’s a virtual certainty that Romo would have gotten a deal at least that large on the open market next offseason, and the Cowboys couldn’t risk losing Romo after pretty much neglecting to attempt to develop young quarterbacks during his tenure as the starter.

Jerry Jones didn’t do Romo any favors with the “Peyton Manning-type time” line, which some wrongly perceived as questioning the quarterback’s work ethic in previous years. The point the owner/general manager was attempting to make is that Romo will have as much say in the creation of weekly game plans as any quarterback in the league -- and as much input in that process as anyone at Valley Ranch.

Galloway & Company's Glenn "Stretch" Smith is excited about the Cowboys running game.

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Why wouldn’t the general manager grant that request from Romo? The Cowboys offense was at its best last season when Romo was running the no-huddle offense after ineffective game plans helped put the Cowboys in huge holes.

Camp competition: The Cowboys could sign a young quarterback who has a legitimate shot of sticking as the No. 3 guy. Maybe Stephens (Flower Mound, Texas) and Williams (Coppell, Texas) end up competing for a job on the practice squad.

2013 hope: The Cowboys need Romo to perform to the expectations of his paycheck.

That means making plays and protecting the football, much like he did in 2011, when Romo threw for 31 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and had a career-best passer rating of 102.5. (It’d be swell if his turnovers didn’t come in critical situations like the giveaways that played such prominent roles in losses to the New York Jets and Detroit Lions that season.)

More than anything, the Cowboys need Romo to play up to his standard when the season is on the line, assuming they’ll be in position for games in December and, hopefully January, to matter. His 1-6 record in win-or-the-end games isn’t all Romo’s fault, but he hasn’t played to his typical level in any of those losses and was especially bad in last season’s de facto NFC East title game, throwing three picks in a loss to the Washington Redskins.

If Romo stays healthy, the Cowboys should have postseason hope. They need him to rewrite the Romo narrative in the games when the season is at stake.

Future forecast: Romo’s contract means the Cowboys are committed to him as the starter for three more seasons at the minimum, probably at least four. He’ll be 37 then, so, at some point, searching for Romo’s successor should become a priority. They’re riding with Romo for the foreseeable future.

Cowboys' bid to land QB thwarted again

June, 11, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have proclaimed they would like to keep a No. 3 quarterback, but they didn’t do it last season and do not appear to be inclined to do so this year.

ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Cowboys and Tony Romo missing OTAs.

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However, that could have been different had the waiver wire been a little more friendly.

The Cowboys have been thwarted twice in the past few weeks in their attempts to add a more veteran backup quarterback behind Kyle Orton.

On Tuesday, Jacksonville was awarded quarterback Mike Kafka after New England cut him in favor of Tim Tebow. Late in May, the Cowboys missed out on Thaddeus Lewis, who was awarded to Detroit after he was cut by Cleveland.

Teams are awarded players off the wire based on their records from the previous season. Jacksonville finished 2-14 in 2012; Detroit was 4-12.

The Cowboys have Nick Stephens and Dalton Williams behind Orton. Stephens has been working with the second-team offense while Tony Romo recovers from surgery to remove a cyst from his back.

Lewis started last year’s season finale for Cleveland against Pittsburgh, completing 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 24-10 loss. Kafka played in four games in 2011 with Philadelphia with two interceptions.

As for Tebow, the Cowboys had no interest. The lack of interest had more to do with Tebow being a poor fit for the offense than any sort of circus that would have come to Valley Ranch.

Day 2 Cowboys rookie camp notes

May, 11, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Saturday was the final day of the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie minicamp that was open to the media, so we have a handful of observations from the two sessions:

** The Cowboys believe S J.J. Wilcox will be a quick learner after playing the position for one season. He showed he was a quick learner Saturday. He was late to react to a crossing route to WR Antoine Hicks, but later in team drills he was able to quickly read a seam route to TE Paul Freedman for the first pick of camp. He had a chance at another interception thwarted by LB Brandon Magee on a throw to TE Taylor Cook.

** Hicks was added to the roster on Friday night and made a good first impression in his tryout. He caught three passes in one-on-one drills, including a diving grab across the middle. The Cowboys might want to take an extra look at him.

** TE B.J. Stewart had a rough afternoon practice and at one point was pulled from the field after lining up incorrectly. At that point Jason Garrett yelled, “Give me anybody but 48,” referring to Stewart’s uniform number.

** WR Jared Green had a chance to end the one-on-one work with a nice catch after a double move left CB B.W. Webb behind, but the receiver dropped a sure catch near the sideline. Earlier Green had his legs taken out from him as he went up for a deep ball and landed on his back.

** WR Terrance Williams had trouble catching some passes in the afternoon, which led to him staying after to catch passes off a Jugs machine. Williams' best play came in the morning, when he was able to take in a Nick Stephens throw after Green cleared out the secondary with a deep route.

Cowboys add 15 undrafted players

April, 28, 2013
IRVING, Texas – Over the years the Cowboys have excelled in landing undrafted free agents that make the 53-man roster, so it stands to reason a few of the 15 signings will make the club in 2013.

Last year, Cole Beasley, Ronald Leary and Ben Bass spent time on the active roster.

Here is the up-to-date list:

LB Brandon Magee, Arizona State
QB Dalton Williams, Akron
S Jakar Hamilton, South Carolina State
RB Kendial Lawrence, Missouri
CB Devin Smith, Wisconsin
CB Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
LB Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State
WR Greg Herd, Eastern Washington
FB Paul Freedman, Virginia
LB Tank Reed, SMU
DB Jeff Heath, Saginaw Valley State
K Spencer Benton, Clemson
WR Eric Rogers, Cal Lutheran
CB Xavier Brewer, Clemson
LB Deon Lacey, West Alabama

Interesting to note the Cowboys did not sign an offensive lineman. Perhaps some could come in on a tryout basis for the May 10-12 rookie mini-camp. One tryout player, who is expected to sign is tight end B.J. Stewart from Cumberland.

QB wasn't a priority for Cowboys

April, 27, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- With Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and Landry Jones available in the fourth round Saturday, it looked like the Cowboys could have had to chance to do something they don’t do often and draft a quarterback.

By the time they picked at No. 114, only Jones was available and he went to Pittsburgh with the next pick.

Barkley went No. 98 to Philadelphia, Nassib went to the New York Giants at No. 110 and Wilson went to Oakland at No. 112.

The last quarterback the Cowboys drafted was Stephen McGee (fourth round) in 2009. Since 1990 the Cowboys have drafted only three quarterbacks: Bill Musgrave (1991), Quincy Carter (2001) and McGee.

The Cowboys have Tony Romo, who turned 33 earlier in the week, Kyle Orton and Nick Stephens on the roster and agreed to a deal with undrafted rookie Dalton Williams on Saturday.

“I think every team wants to develop a quarterback,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You want a guy coming along. We feel really good about the quarterbacks we have on the roster right now and what their roles are. If one of those top guys had fallen further we would’ve had another conversation about it. We felt those guys were good players and maybe good value but maybe not for us where we were picking.”

Updated Cowboys UDFA signings

April, 27, 2013
IRVING, Texas – Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the team has a plan to sign 15-20 undrafted free agents this year and the process began immediately after the seventh round ended.

The Cowboys have deals in place with Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee, South Carolina State safety Jakar Hamilton and Akron quarterback Dalton Williams.

Magee, a three-time Major League Baseball draft pick, had 113 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two interceptions last season after missing the 2011 season with an Achilles injury. Hamilton transferred to South Carolina State from Georgia but played in only eight games and had 26 tackles. Williams transferred to Akron after playing at Stephen F. Austin. He threw for 3,387 yards with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Magee and Hamilton were pre-draft visitors to the Cowboys and Williams, a Coppell, Texas, native, worked out for the team at Dallas Day.

Updated undrafted agreements:

RB Kendial Lawrence, Missouri
CB Devin Smith, Wisconsin
CB Dustin Harris, Texas A&M
LB Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State
WR Greg Herd, Eastern Washington
FB Paul Freedman, Virginia
LB Taylor Reed, SMU
DB Jeff Heath, Saginaw Valley

Check back here for updates of undrafted signings.