Losing Kyle Orton Won't Hurt the Dallas Cowboys

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 23, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29:  Kyle Orton #18 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass in the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Only in Texas do NFL teams wind up in standoffs with backup quarterbacks, and it appears that's the case right now as the Dallas Cowboys try to work things out with Kyle Orton

From NFL.com's Chris Wesseling

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday's edition of "NFL Total Access" that Orton has informed the Cowboys of a wish to retire at age 31. He doesn't want to play for them or any other team.

The problem with Orton's stance is that the Cowboys will force him to pay back $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus if he follows through on that plan to walk away.

It's actually hard to believe that Orton would choose to walk away from such a sweet gig at this point, regardless of whether he's able to keep that signing bonus cash. The dude was also slated to make $3.25 million simply to watch football from the Cowboys sideline 16 times in 2014. 

I guess he's financially secure, though, and is ready to move on. But while the team does appear to be fighting him on that decision, don't mistakenly believe that it has much or anything to do with his potential contributions as a football player. 

This is only an issue because of the finances in limbo and has very little to do with security or insurance for starting quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys rightfully want some of their money back, but I really don't believe that, beyond that, they care where Orton resides come the fall. 

The reality is that if Romo were to suffer a major injury, this team would be doomed regardless. Orton turns 32 this year, has started just nine games since 2010 and threw two interceptions on just 51 pass attempts in 2013. 

The Cowboys brought in Brandon Weeden earlier this offseason for a reason. Weeden might not be cut out to start in this league either, but he's an ideal custodian backup and his contract pays him only $615,000 a year. He might be only a year younger than Orton, but as a third-year pro, he still has room to improve and likely has a fresher arm. 

Brandon Weeden vs. Kyle Orton
Passer rating71.879.9
Comp. %55.958.5
Pro Football Reference

So Orton has little to no leverage here. The Cowboys would probably take him back because it's always good to have experienced backups in that spot, but he's not worth what they're paying him anyway.

This is a story because it's May and it's Dallas, but there's little reason for fans to fret over the potential loss of Kyle Orton.