Kyle Orton won’t be playing for the Cowboys in 2014, but he’s not necessarily done with the NFL. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters, including Marc Sessler of NFL.com, that the backup veteran quarterback has no intentions to call it quits and want to keep playing in 2014, just not for Dallas.
Jones explained that Tony Romo‘s former backup planned to report for camp in order to force the team’s hand, but wasn’t going to actually suit up in games for the Cowboys.
“Once he gave an indication that he was not going to retire and come back with all the other aspects of not having participated in the spring work that we did…then it was decision time on our part.” Jones said. “You need to be out there, you need to be on the field, you need to be doing your best every play, or somebody else can step up there. That’s all alive and well in this decision. But it’s important to understand that we were paying Kyle a lot of money. That money can go toward paying (someone) that can help us win in our judgment more than having that much invested in him, his position of backup quarterback.”
Orton, 31, had strongly indicated throughout the offseason that his preference was to end his playing career, but the Cowboys hoped he’d either return or formally retire so that they could recoup some of his bonus money. Ultimately, Orton won the stare down with Dallas and was granted his release. While he won’t get his base salary of $3.25MM, he did manage to keep his entire signing bonus. The Cowboys are down a backup QB, but they have a little additional cap flexibility this year, which could help facilitate extensions for Dez Bryant or Tyron Smith.
Orton, who has spent time with the Bears, Broncos, Chiefs, and Cowboys has more than 15,000 career passing yards to go along with 83 touchdowns in 75 total contests (70 starts). It sounds like he’ll look to add to that total in 2014.