IRVING, Texas – When the Cowboys turned in their 53-man roster to the NFL league office Friday night before the 8 p.m. deadline, quarterback Stephen McGee wasn't included in the 23 cuts.
But he didn't remain on the roster long. McGee was the player let go when the Cowboys were awarded their waiver claim for tight end Colin Cochart on Saturday.
Entering final cuts, McGee was one of the few bubble players who could remain, be traded or sent packing. With starter Tony Romo healthy and 29-year old Kyle Orton touted as one of the league's premier backup quarterbacks, it was unclear if there was room on the 53-man roster for a third quarterback. Jason Garrett was believed to be McGee's greatest champion in the discussion of his roster spot, as he has repeatedly stated how much the Cowboys value depth at the quarterback position.
A fourth tight end, someone who could potentially play Wednesday in case Jason Witten isn't available, was apparently one of the Cowboys' top priorities as well, however.
McGee played in all four preseason games this year, connecting on 55.1 percent of his passes, with one interception and no touchdowns. He compiled 310 passing yards and ran five times for 39 yards.
The athletic quarterback from Texas A&M has an ability to scramble and make plays on the run, but has lacked a consistency while developing as an NFL quarterback. Jason Garrett said Saturday, before the moves were official, that McGee did a nice job in training camp and the preseason.
"We try to manage the roster as best we can," Garrett said. "We want to keep good players. At the same time, we understand that we have to manage the different injury situations that we have, particularly early on in the season. We're not unlike 31 other teams. Everybody's doing these kinds of things and having to make hard decisions."
McGee played in one game last season and two games in 2010, including one start. He threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions while in Dallas, completing 56.1 percent of his passes.
A first quarter hand injury to Tony Romo forced McGee to enter the Cowboys' Week 16 matchup against the Eagles last season. He threw for 182 yards and a touchdown, adding four rushes for 28 yards in a 20-7 loss.
McGee and quarterback Rudy Carpenter took the majority of snaps in the fourth preseason game against the Dolphins. Carpenter, who played on the practice squads of the Cowboys and Buccaneers, tweeted about his release Thursday.