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Monday, February 16, 2009
Could Garcia end up in Dallas?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

In case you missed it, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have informed soon-to-be 39-year-old Jeff Garcia that they're moving on without him. Garcia led the Bucs to a 14-10 record over the past two regular-seasons and he's not quite ready to hang it up.

  2008: Best of Jeff Garcia
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  The best moments from Jeff Garcia in 2008.

And at the risk of (heaven forbid) stirring something up, I think the Cowboys would be wise to sign him on the first day of free agency. For three games, this team was held hostage by the poor play of Brad Johnson. Garcia would be a huge upgrade over Johnson, who would've been released during the season if the Cowboys had another option at holder.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett did the team a major disservice by convincing owner Jerry Jones to stick with Johnson as the backup in '08. During a stretch that included games against the lowly Rams, Bucs and Giants, a player of Garcia's ilk would've led the team to a 2-1 record. The Cowboys went 1-2 with Johnson -- and missed the playoffs by one game.

Try to forget that Johnson's only win came against a Garcia-led Bucs team. The Cowboys won in spite of Johnson in that game because of a heroic defensive effort. Garcia would not challenge for the starting job, but he'd at least give Tony Romo someone to think about. With Johnson and Brooks Bollinger on campus, Romo knew that he'd never be pulled from a game.

I think the presence of a legitimate starter would actually sharpen Romo's focus. The Cowboys were lulled to sleep regarding the backup spot in 2008 because no one has missed significant time due to injury since Bill Parcells took over in '03. And when the Cowboys released Quincy Carter during the '04 training camp, Parcells had veteran Vinny Testaverde waiting in the wings.

Yes, I realize the prospect of T.O. and Garcia sharing a locker room could be a bit awkward considering their past, but honestly, who cares?

First of all, there's still a chance Jones does the right thing and releases T.O. And even if he doesn't, it's not like this locker room could be any worse than last year. They've already cut ties with cornerback Pacman Jones and defensive tackle Tank Johnson is next.

The Cowboys can't afford to head into another season without a viable backup. The Giants have David Carr, the Redskins Todd Collins and the Eagles have former second-round pick Kevin Kolb. The Cowboys don't have anyone.

And for those of you who think Garcia's still looking for a starting job, check out what he told the St. Petersburg Times:

"I do feel like I have football life in me," Garcia said. "I feel I can still contribute. I'm not sure what my role will be with another team. I'm not looking at it like I need to start and be the man ... Hopefully, I'll have some opportunities out there. I'm pretty sure there's going to be something out there for me."

If Garcia signs with the Cowboys early in free agency, it might be an indication that Jones is ready to part ways with T.O. Either way, it's definitely a move the Cowboys should consider. The club blew off the backup position last season. I don't think Jones will let that happen again.