BY CLARENCE E. HILL JR.
The Dallas Cowboys have been in contact with free agent quarterback Josh McCown about backing up Dak Prescott next season, a source confirmed Monday.
But they are one of eight teams who have expressed interest in McCown since he was released by the Cleveland Browns a few weeks ago.
McCown, 38, plans to take his time before deciding on a new team, per a source. But McCown grew up in Jacksonville, Texas, rooting for the Cowboys and it’s long been his dream to play for his favorite childhood team.
The Cowboys tried to trade for McCown last August when then backup quarterback Kellen Moore suffered a broken leg in training camp. But the Browns’ asking price was too high.
And that was before Prescott became a rookie sensation, not only rendering the backup discussion moot but also replacing Tony Romo as the starter.
With Moore and Mark Sanchez set to be free agents, the Cowboys are again targeting McCown as a backup.
But the Cowboys have to make a decision on Romo’s future first or rather how they will part ways with their all-time leading passer.
Romo wants to continue his career, but has no interest in remaining with the Cowboys behind Prescott.
Owner Jerry Jones said last weekend that the team has made no decision on Romo _ whether he will be traded or released.
Those discussions are sure to intensify this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
But Romo’s status and contract must be dealt with before they can truly move on in free agency at quarterback or any other position.
Romo has a $24.7 salary cap figure for next year. If he is traded or released, the Cowboys would get $5.1 million in cap space. But Romo would count $19.6 million against the cap.
They could split the cap charge over two years if they designate him a post-June 1 release. He would count $10.7 million against the cap in 2017 and $8.9 million in 2018. But the full $24.7 charge must be carried on cap until June, limiting the Cowboys ability to make moves in the height of free agency.
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