Dallas passing on Donovan McNabb

Updated: December 2, 2011, 3:30 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not put in a waiver claim for veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, coach Jason Garrett said.

NFL teams have until 3 p.m. CT to claim McNabb.

There was a thought the Cowboys would be interested because backup Jon Kitna is nursing a back injury that will force him to miss his third consecutive game, Sunday at Arizona.

Last week, the Cowboys put in a claim for Kyle Orton after he was released by Denver. That move was more about preventing the Chicago Bears, a potential playoff opponent for the Cowboys, from getting him. Orton eventually was awarded to Kansas City.

The Bears may have lost quarterback Jay Cutler for the season with a broken hand. His replacement, Caleb Hanie, threw three interceptions in a 25-20 loss to the Raiders Sunday.

The Bears are 24th in the waiver order, meaning they'd have to hope that a lot of other teams don't need a veteran quarterback. It looks as if Dallas (21st) can be crossed off.

McNabb has expressed interest in playing for his hometown team, but the Bears have not indicated they plan to put in a claim.

Sage Rosenfels, another veteran quarterback, also was released Thursday by the Miami Dolphins. But the Cowboys are going to stay with Stephen McGee as the backup to starter Tony Romo until Kitna returns from his injury.

"They've both been very good players in this league," Garrett said of McNabb and Rosenfels before Friday's practice at Valley Ranch. "Obviously we've competed against Donovan a lot when he was a quarterback for the Eagles and he's been a great player for a long, long time and the same thing with Sage, in a different role. He's been a veteran player who has played for 10 to 12 years now and really done a nice job with the role he has been in. But right now, we're going to just stand pat with where we are when we evaluate our quarterback situation."

The Cowboys could sign a quarterback off another team's practice squad roster, such as Rudy Carpenter in Tampa Bay. Carpenter was on the Cowboys' 2009 training camp roster and signed to the practice squad before the Buccaneers grabbed him.

If a player leaves the practice squad to join another team's active roster, he must remain eligible to play for three weeks.

Tom Brandstater, who was waived by the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 9, was a potential candidate for the Cowboys, but the Rams re-signed him Friday to their practice squad as insurance, what with Sam Bradford's status in doubt.

As of now, the Cowboys believe Kitna will return at some point in December.

"Donovan has not really been in this system, so that's kind of where that is, and that's all I would say about that," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Friday morning on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM. "You know what we think of Donovan McNabb. He's really had a great career and a lot of it has been against the Cowboys. I'll never forget the great run he made out here and then the throw he made for a touchdown that was memorable. But bottom line is, we think a lot of Stephen McGee. One of his attributes is his ability to be mobile and move around and throw on the run. That's McNabb's game, too. Where we are right now is, we've got a lot of confidence in Stephen."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who described the parting with McNabb as mutual, had pushed for Minnesota to trade a sixth-round draft pick this summer to the Washington Redskins in exchange for McNabb. He believed McNabb would bring stability to the offense after the NFL lockout kept rookie Christian Ponder from practicing with the team or working with his coaches until training camp.

McNabb went 1-5 as a starter, threw for only four touchdowns and completed just five passes of 25-plus yards. Frazier said he didn't regret the trade, given the situation the Vikings were in this summer, and said he believes McNabb can still play in the NFL but stopped short of saying he can be an effective starter.

"I'm not certain about that. ... A lot depends on the team he goes to, if he goes to another team," Frazier said.

If McNabb somehow clears waivers in the next 24 hours -- which isn't likely -- he would become free to sign with any team. The team awarded McNabb would assume the approximately $1.6 million remaining on his contract.

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Information from ESPNChicago.com Bears writer Michael C. Wright and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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