SATURDAY, 2:53pm: The Bills have confirmed the transaction via press release.
FRIDAY, 10:28pm: Graham confirms (Twitter link) that the deal is indeed for one year, with a player option for 2016. The Bills anticipate that Orton will remain in Buffalo for both seasons.
10:24pm: Sources tell Graham (on Twitter) that Orton’s deal is for two years, rather than one. However, he notes that we could be dealing with semantics, as the second year could be an option.
10:05pm: Tim Graham of the Buffalo News tweets that while a deal is not yet signed, the two sides are very close.
9:27pm The Bills have agreed to sign quarterback Kyle Orton to a one-year contract, reports James Walker of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Orton, who flirted with retirement before being released by the Cowboys on July 16, will act as a backup to starter E.J. Manuel. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com noted earlier today that Orton could be an option for the Bills, who had been eying the veteran QB market.
Orton, 31, is a veteran of eight NFL seasons, having entered the league as a Bears fourth-round pick in 2005. While spending time in Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, and Dallas, the former Purdue Boilermaker has started 70 games, completing 58.5% of his passes for over 15,000 yards and 83 touchdowns.
Orton was a starter for most of his career until signing with the Cowboys prior to the 2012 season; during the past two years, he’s started just one game in relief of an injured Tony Romo. It seemed as though Orton’s preference was to secure only a No. 2 job — several teams surely would have offered him a chance at a starting role. His career goals became even murkier when he contemplated retirement earlier this summer, engaging in an odd standoff that ultimately led to Dallas cutting him loose.
The Cowboys were set to pay Orton $3.25MM in base salary for the upcoming season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Bills at least matched that figure. After releasing Thad Lewis and Jordan Palmer in recent days, Jeff Tuel was the only quarterback remaining behind Manuel on the Bills’ depth chart. Manuel missed six games due to injury in 2013, and was ineffective when he did suit up, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Orton to see some regular season action in Buffalo this season.