Dallas Cowboys: Mike Kafka

Mike Kafka signs with Bucs, not Cowboys

February, 10, 2014
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.

Dallas Cowboys work out QB Mike Kafka

February, 6, 2014
IRVING, Texas -- For the second time in two offseasons, the Dallas Cowboys have shown an interest in quarterback Mike Kafka.

Kafka worked out for the Cowboys on Thursday, as did wide receivers Braylon Bell and Maurice Williams, who spent time in the Arena Football League in 2013.

The Cowboys made a waiver claim on Kafka last June after he was cut by the New England Patriots, but because the Jacksonville Jaguars had priority in the waiver process, he went there. A fourth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, Kafka was out of football last year after he was cut by the Jaguars.

The Cowboys have two quarterbacks under contract for 2014: starter Tony Romo, whose recovery from back surgery is on schedule, and backup Kyle Orton, who could be caught in a salary-cap purge or might be asked to restructure.

Bell went to high school in Dallas, graduating from South Oak Cliff H.S., and played at Abilene Christian University. Williams spent time with the Indianapolis Colts last summer.

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.

NFC East Stock Watch

September, 20, 2011
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South


1. Quarterbacks, like flies. Serious injuries to the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo and the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick have called into question the status of each star quarterback for this week's games, potentially leaving those teams in the hands of Jon Kitna and Mike Kafka for key divisional matchups. The ability of the offensive lines in Dallas and Philadelphia to protect their quarterbacks was a question mark going into the season, and whenever they can get back on the field it's going to be important for them to be better protected from hits than they have been so far.

2. Giants' secondary. Sure, they won the game on "Monday Night Football" against the Rams, but the Giants certainly didn't inspire any confidence along the way. Tom Coughlin must be hoping his brief benching of Aaron Ross inspires Ross to play better, because they need more from him. He may be overexposed as a starter, but the Giants don't have a better option, at least until Prince Amukamara is back. And even once that happens, Amukamara will be a rookie who hasn't practiced and has a screw in his foot. Ross has to play like an NFL starter or the Giants will continue to give up yards downfield.

3. Tony Romo bashing. Does any player inspire more extreme opinions than the Cowboys' quarterback? A week ago, everybody was wondering if they'd ever win another game with goofy, clumsy Tony at quarterback. This week, he leads a comeback with broken ribs and he's a super tough guy everybody loves. Surely, this will swing back and forth between these two extremes for the rest of the season and perhaps Romo's career. But step back and look at the overall numbers, and it's easy to calm down and realize the Cowboys have a special talent playing quarterback for them. Sunday only helped prove that again.


[+] EnlargeJeremy Maclin
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesNow fully healthy, WR Jeremy Maclin has the tools to have a career season in 2012.
1. Jeremy Maclin. Yeah, sure, he dropped the pass that would have extended the game late and given the Eagles a chance to win. But it also would have been his 14th catch of the game, and he had 171 receiving yards. After a quiet Week 1 that followed all of the health concerns he had in the offseason, people wondered if Maclin could be the impact guy the Eagles needed him to be in the passing game. But he clearly answered those questions with a dazzling Sunday night performance.

2. Rex Grossman and the Redskins' offense. One week can be a fluke. Two weeks gets your attention. And yeah, it was against a weak Arizona defense, but what jumps out at me is the efficiency with which the Redskins' offense runs. Grossman is spreading it around to six, seven, eight different receivers. They have depth at running back to support Tim Hightower if he wears down, as he did after a heavy first-half workload Sunday. And everybody seems invested in making the thing work with no egos. The schedule remains pretty soft for the Redskins for much of the year, and if Grossman can stay away from mistakes (or keep his head and recover from them as well as he did Sunday), this offense could be one of the surprises of the league.

3. Dan Bailey. The Cowboys' rookie kicker had a rough start to the game, missing a 21-yard field goal attempt. But he hit the big one at the end of regulation to tie it and the chip shot to win it in overtime. Anything that helps the Cowboys' confidence in their kicking game is a good thing for Dallas, especially as it looks as if they could be playing these heart-stopping affairs all year -- or at least until they're fully healthy, whenever that may be.

Total QBR report: NFC East

September, 19, 2011
ESPN's new "Total QBR" stat, which is intended to offer a more complete and accurate assessment of quarterback performance than does the traditional passer rating stat, gives extra weight to "clutch" plays and plays that occur at critical times in the game. So it's no real surprise that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo fared considerably better in Total QBR this week than he did last week.

Romo's Total QBR at halftime of Sunday's game, before he left with a cracked rib, was an average-looking 59.9. (Remember, this is on a scale of 0-100.) But after leading the Cowboys to victory in overtime, he finished the day with a Total QBR of 94.0, which is the highest single-game score posted by any quarterback in the league so far in this young season. Here's a link to the leaders from Sunday, and here's a link to the leaders so far this year (with the New York Giants' Eli Manning and the Rams' Sam Bradford yet to play Monday night). You'll see that Romo ranks fourth in the league for the season with a Total QBR of 81.6, in spite of his meltdown in the fourth quarter of the Week 1 loss to the Jets.

Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman posted a Total QBR of 55.1 in Week 2. The number was deflated a bit by the early interceptions, particularly the one he threw at the goal line, but helped by his fourth-quarter touchdown drive that brought the Redskins back within two. For the season so far, Grossman ranks 10th in the league with a Total QBR of 63.2.

The Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick had a rough game, Total QBR-wise, before a concussion knocked him out Sunday night in Atlanta. Thanks in large part to two lost fumbles and an interception, Vick's Total QBR on Sunday was 37.1. His replacement, Mike Kafka, posted a mark of 36.8. For the season, Vick's number is now 53.3, good for just 15th in the league to this point. Interestingly, Vick graded out pretty well as a passer in Sunday night's game, but lost almost as many expected points in the run game as he gained in the passing game. I have to assume that's because of the fumbles.

Manning, who plays his Week 2 game tonight against the Rams on ESPN, ranks 13th in the league so far with a Total QBR of 53.6.