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What we learned: Cowboys in market for veteran QB

Since Tony Romo displaced Drew Bledsoe in October of 2006, the Dallas Cowboys are 78-49 (.614) with their starting quarterback in the lineup and a woebegone 7-20 (.259) when forced to turn to the backup.

The Cowboys have only themselves to blame for their dire straits with Romo on the sidelines over the past few years.

Owner Jerry Jones emphasized the importance of a quality backup quarterback when he handed borderline starter Kyle Orton a $5 million signing bonus in 2012. Since Orton's July 2014 release, though, the front office has scrimped on the position, hyperbolizing the virtues of limited third-string castoffs such as Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore as legitimate insurance policies.

Just a week after swinging and missing on a trade attempt for Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch, Jones hyped Moore's "it" factor despite the NCAA legend's substandard NFL size and arm strength.

When Moore broke his ankle in Tuesday's practice, Jones was hit with an overdue wake-up call. The team's brass can no longer afford to sugarcoat the backup quarterback job behind one of the game's most brittle starters.

To that end, the Cowboys are kicking the tires on a couple of proven starters with the potential to operate as significant upgrades.

NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday that executive vice president Stephen Jones touched base with the agent for former Pro Bowl MVP Nick Foles, recently released by the Rams; however, Foles agreed to terms with the Chiefs on Wednesday night. Even better, the team is looking into a trade for relegated Browns veteranJosh McCown, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Should Jones pull off a swap for a capable stand-in such McCown, the Cowboys will have a chance to enter the season with their strongest quarterback room of the Romo era.

Here's what else we learned from Wednesday's action in training camps around the league:

  1. Moore isn't the only injured Cowboy. First-round running back Ezekiel Elliott will miss upcoming practices with a tweaked hamstring. His absence is considered precautionary at this point.
  1. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter is upsetting the depth chart in Tampa, elevating former Harvard standout Cameron Brate ahead of Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end. Brate caught our attention as a rookie for his underrated skill set as a receiver and obvious rapport with Jameis Winston.

Intending to "end the mystery," Koetter also announced that Adam Humphries is locked in as the team's No. 3 receiver.

  1. Elsewhere in Florida, the Jaguars are starting to mix second-round linebacker Myles Jackin with the starters. Although Jack's eventual position is likely in the middle, his best chance to start is to unseat Dan Skuta at strong-side linebacker.
  1. Second-round rookie wideout Michael Thomas continues to turn heads in Saints camp:
  1. Speaking of turning heads, the Martellus Bennett experiment is going according to plan in New England. Bill Belichick acknowledged that the tight-end situation is as impressive as it's been in his 18 years with the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski has been so dominant that The Boston Globe is worried about ruining the confidence of the defensive backs assigned to cover him in practice.
  1. The outspoken brother tandem of Michael and Martellus Bennett made waves Wednesday, thanks to an ESPN The Magazine profile that featured controversial comments on Jay Cutler, Sam Bradford and J.J. Watt.

Cutler's response to Martellus Bennett's shots: "Hopefully Tom (Brady) can do a better job of finding him than I did."

  1. A pair of veteran free agents visited teams in hopes of finding new homes. Former Bengals defensive back Leon Hall met with the Giants, while former Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes worked out for the Dolphins.
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