Kyle Orton came to the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 as the highly touted second-stringer, a $10 million insurance policy for Tony Romo in a league where backup quarterbacks are at a premium.
But he now may be leaving the team on much shakier terms, with reports that the 31-year-old signal caller could be trying to force the team to cut him.
This week Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he “anticipates” Orton reporting for mandatory minicamp in June, and all indications are that he will be there. Kyle Orton would be fined $70,000 if he doesn’t show up, but his attendance wouldn’t necessarily mean that he intends to stay with the team.
Orton’s agent, David Dunn, said Kyle has never considered retirement. That too would cost him, as Orton would owe the Cowboys $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus.
At the same time, Orton skipped the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning, despite the fact that the team is implementing a new offense under Scott Linehan and is looking on him to help out the team’s young quarterbacks.
The Cowboys do have on option to cut Kyle Orton loose. If he is cut before June 1, the team saves $3.25 million against the cap.
ESPN writer Todd Archer points out that Orton may be hoping for this option.
“The Cowboys will have an idea if Orton really wants to play by the type of shape he is in at the June camp,” Archer wrote. “If he is in decent shape, then he could continue to play. If not, then he could be looking for the Cowboys to cut him, which would not require him to repay the team any of the signing bonus.”
The Dallas Cowboys may have made their intentions clear for Kyle Orton. In the offseason they signed former Cleveland Browns starter Brandon Weedon along with backup Caleb Hanie, ramping up the competition for Orton to win the job behind Romo.
The team’s coaching staff has also said openly that Orton is no longer needed on the team.
“We’re still hopeful that Kyle will be here,” quarterback coach Wade Wilson said, “but if he doesn’t, we feel really good about Brandon, especially since he’s going through our off-season program.”
If Kyle Orton does leave the Dallas Cowboys, many believe he could land on a team with a shaky quarterback situation, allowing him to fight for his first starting job since Tim Tebow unseated him in Denver.