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Cowboys agree with QB Orton, CB Carr and 2 others

The Dallas Cowboys have already accomplished two of their primary goals in free agency, upgrading their secondary and getting a veteran backup quarterback.

Cornerback Brandon Carr, who was apparently Dallas' top target, agreed Wednesday to a five-year deal, and quarterback Kyle Orton agreed to a three-year deal to be Tony Romo's backup. Both played in Kansas City last season.

Dallas also announced the signings of unrestricted free agent offensive lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau from the Carolina Panthers to a four-year deal, and fullback Lawrence Vickers from Houston for two years.

Within hours after free agency began Tuesday afternoon, team officials visited with Carr at Cowboys Stadium.

A fifth-round pick in 2008 by the Chiefs, Carr had 45 tackles and a career-high four interceptions last season. Carr, who turns 26 in May, started all 64 games for the Chiefs the past four years.

The deal with Carr came a day after two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman, a starter all nine of his seasons in Dallas, was released by the Cowboys.

Orton finished last season in Kansas City after being released by Denver. The Chiefs needed a quarterback after a season-ending injury to starter Matt Cassel

Jon Kitna, Romo's primary backup the last two years, retired after last season. Quarterback Stephen McGee is going into the final year of his contract with the Cowboys.

The 39-year-old Kitna appeared in only three games last year after starting the final 10 games in 2010 when Romo broke his collarbone.

After Kitna injured his back last fall, the Cowboys unsuccessfully tried to claim Orton off waivers. Orton had been released by the Broncos after they decided to go with Tim Tebow as their starter.

Orton has started 69 of his 71 NFL games over six seasons with Chicago (2005-08), Denver (2010-11) and the Chiefs. He has completed 1,284 of 2,204 passes (58 percent) for 14,532 yards with 80 touchdowns and 57 interceptions.

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Bernadeau has started 20 games and played in 47 over the past four seasons for the Panthers at guard. However, after starting 12 games in 2010 he was replaced in the starting lineup at right guard and started only one game last season.

Bernadeau is entering his fifth season in the league out of Bentley College

"They brought him in to be a starting guard," said his agent, Dennis Boyev. "He's really thankful for his time in Carolina. It's a team that took a chance on a kid who came from a Division II college, so he's grateful for that."

Another Panthers unrestricted free agent, linebacker Dan Connor, is also visiting with the Cowboys this week.

Vickers has played in 90 games (38 starts) the past six seasons. He spent five years in Cleveland after being a sixth-round pick in 2006 and played in 14 games last season for the Houston Texans.

The Cowboys didn't tender an offer to restricted free agent fullback Tony Fiammetta, who played in 10 games last season but missed several others because of illness.

AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.

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