Kyle Orton is not done with football, just with the Dallas Cowboys.
The former Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos starter took a high-priced backup job with Dallas to sit behind Tony Romo, but this offseason his status with the team changed. Orton refused to participate in offseason training and did not report for training camp, which Dallas owner Jerry Jones said was a gambit to force the team’s hand.
It worked, with the Cowboys cutting Orton and his $3 million salary. The move was actually a favor for Orton, as it allowed him to keep his $3.25 million prorated signing bonus.
Jerry Jones said once the team learned that Kyle Orton wanted to continue his NFL career, they acted quickly.
“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.
The move will also save the Cowboys about $2 million in cap space.
“That money can go toward paying (someone) that can help us win in our judgment more than having that much invested in him,” Jones said.
If Orton wants to continue his NFL career, he might find that his options are limited. At 31, he has not started for a long stretch since midway through the 2011 season, when he stumbled to a poor start with the Broncos and was replaced by Tim Tebow.
Orton started the regular season finale last year after Tony Romo went down with injury, throwing for 358 yards and two touchdowns to go along with two interceptions in a 24-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. A win would have put Dallas into the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
With Kyle Orton now gone, the Dallas Cowboys will turn to former Cleveland Browns starter Brandon Weeden as the backup.