Brandon Weeden Provides Cowboys with Extra Quarterback Insurance, Nothing More

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

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Only in the football circus that is Dallas would a first-round pick be backing up a player who wasn't drafted at the quarterback position.

That's the case now that NFL Media's Ian Rapoport is reporting the Cowboys have signed former Cleveland Browns first-round bust Brandon Weeden.'s Todd Archer notes that Weeden's deal is worth $1.23 million over two years.

Actually, Weeden is probably technically the third quarterback behind Romo and Kyle Orton, who knows the offense in and out. According to, Orton is set to make $3.25 million next season.

However, Archer suggests that Orton, 31, could retire while undrafted starter Tony Romo will turn 34 before he takes another NFL snap.

Since Orton would owe the Cowboys $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus if he were to walk away, there's a good chance he stays on board, which means Dallas is finally going to stop gambling and will enter 2014 with three quarterbacks instead of two.

Considering Romo's age and the fact that he was injured when the team needed him most late last year, signing Weeden for insurance makes a lot of sense.

Don't buy into the notion that this is anything more than that, though.

NFL's lowest-rated passers since 2012 (min. 500 attempts)
1. Brandon Weeden71.8
2. Matt Cassel73.8
3. Chad Henne74.9
4. Josh Freeman75.5
5. Eli Manning78.2
Pro Football Reference

Weeden is and probably was always meant to be an insurance policy. He's a career backup whose stock was artificially inflated by the draft process and that insatiable desire for franchise quarterbacks.

He's got a good enough arm to stick around in this league and has enough experience to be a semi-reliable starter in a pinch, but that's it. 

We know from two extremely poor seasons in Cleveland that the guy just isn't a long-term answer under center. His accuracy isn't there and his decision-making is worse. And at 30, he's only 11 months younger than Orton, so it's not as though he's still blossoming. 

We're talking about a guy who lost his starting job on a bad Jason Campbell. In fact, he slipped to the third spot on that depth chart in Cleveland.

He's an arm, but the fact that he signed for basically the veteran minimum salary is an indication that the league knows he's no longer worthy of an opportunity to start. 

Regardless of what the Cowboys say, they likely realize that. Weeden is merely an extremely affordable insurance policy as well as a tested arm for training camp.