Dallas Cowboys: David Dunn

Kyle Orton facing fine of $69,455

June, 19, 2014
Jun 19
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kyle Orton missed the final day of the Dallas Cowboys' minicamp, which is not a surprise since he skipped Monday’s physical and practices on Wednesday and Thursday, and will face a fine of up to $69,455.

The team did not have contact with Orton this week but will assess the situation as they prepare for their July 22 flight for training camp in Oxnard, California. The first full practice is July 24.

“We anticipate him being at training camp,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Communication is a big part of that situation, trying to understand why he wasn’t here and taking the necessary work. ... What we have to do and need to do as an organization is penalize him the necessary amounts of fines and those kinds of things. We also just want to understand and communicate and try to figure out [how] this situation is going to play out that’s best for the Dallas Cowboys and for Kyle Orton.”

Garrett has not spoken with Orton for the past couple of months. They share the same agent, David Dunn, so the fact that communication is an issue is somewhat puzzling.

If Orton skips training camp, the Cowboys can put him on the refused to report list, which would open up a spot on the 90-man roster. Orton would also face a fine of $30,000 each day. According to the collective bargaining agreement, if Orton misses the first six days of training camp, he would have to forfeit up to 15 percent of his yearly signing bonus proration. After six days, he would forfeit 1 percent of the proration for each day, maxing out at 25 percent. There are further penalties if he continues to sit into the regular season.

Because Orton missed so many workouts, a $75,000 de-escalator in his contract kicked in. Totaling up the fines for missing minicamp and the physical, his base salary is now roughly $3.09 million.

The Cowboys do not want to cut Orton because they want him to be Tony Romo’s backup and they would not be able to recoup any of the signing bonus money ($3.4 million) given to him in 2012 and ’13. If he retires, then he would have to repay the team. That he was willing to risk the fine for skipping the minicamp was something of a surprise.

The stakes, however, will be raised once the team gets to training camp.
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is not pleased backup quarterback Kyle Orton is missing this week’s mandatory minicamp, but he is taking a broader view of the quarterback situation.

“Well, I think candidly the way I look at it is it has really given us an opportunity, which we really needed to do, and that’s evaluate young quarterbacks or quarterbacks that might could fit in the picture for several years to come,” Jones said. “So I think that’s going to give us a chance to do that.”

Brandon Weeden has taken the first-team snaps the entire offseason with starter Tony Romo limited by December back surgery and Orton’s absence, and he has impressed the coaches and front office with his work.

But is it enough to where the Cowboys would feel comfortable with him as Romo’s backup and not the more tested Orton?


Are you OK with Brandon Weeden as the Cowboys' backup quarterback?


Discuss (Total votes: 13,069)

Jones would not discuss whether the Cowboys have told Orton’s agent that the team does not plan to cut the quarterback. If the Cowboys cut him, then they would not be able to recoup $3.4 million in signing bonus money. If Orton retires, then he would have to repay the Cowboys the bonus money from the deal he signed in 2012.

Jones said he has not had direct conversations with Orton, but the team has spoken with Orton’s agent, David Dunn, who also represents head coach Jason Garrett and passing game coordinator Scott Linehan.

Orton missed Monday’s physical, which subjects him to a fine of $10,930. By missing Tuesday’s workout he could be fined $11,575. If he misses all three days, then he would be fined $69,455. If he doesn’t show up for training camp, then he would be fined $30,000 for each day he misses. A $75,000 de-escalator has already kicked in Orton's contract for missing the workouts. With the fines and de-escalator, Orton's $3.25 million base salary would be reduced to $3.09 million if he plays.

“The bottom line is we’re just playing this as we move along on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis,” Jones said.

It has turned into a game of chicken between the sides. The next deadline comes when the Cowboys travel to Oxnard, California, for training camp on July 22. According to the collective bargaining agreement, if Orton misses the first six days of training camp, he would have to forfeit up to 15 percent of his yearly signing bonus proration. After six days, he would forfeit 1 percent of the proration for each day, maxing out at 25 percent. There are further penalties if he continues to sit into the regular season.

“As you know this game is for sure one thing, and that is when somebody is not here, somebody else steps up,” Jones said, “and that’s what we’ll be doing with our roster.”

Kyle Orton's future still unknown

May, 19, 2014
May 19
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has said the same thing regarding Kyle Orton the last few times he has met with the media. He “anticipates,” Orton being with the team for the mandatory minicamp in June.

That does not mean Orton wants to play in 2014. It simply means he could show just to avoid a fine of roughly $70,000 for missing the mandatory camp.

Asked Saturday if that could be Orton’s plan, Garrett said, “You’ll have to ask him that.”

Orton has been quiet. His agent, David Dunn, who also represents Garrett, said at the NFL owners meetings that retirement was never option, yet Orton has yet to show up for the voluntary offseason conditioning program.

Orton took part in it in 2012 and ’13. The Cowboys would like him to be around to learn some of the changes Scott Linehan is implementing offensively. They would like him to get more work as Tony Romo recovers from back surgery. They would like him to help the younger quarterbacks.

If Orton retires, he would owe the Cowboys $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he received in 2012. Retirement is not an option.

If the Cowboys cut Orton after June 1, they save $3.25 million against the cap this year. Because of the voidable remaining years on his contract, he will count $2.255 million against the cap in 2015 anyway.

The Cowboys will have an idea if Orton really wants to play by the type of shape he is in at the June camp. 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.

Some want to criticize Orton for wanting it both ways -- not wanting to play and not wanting to repay the money -- but teams often want it both ways, asking players to take pay cuts or risk being cut. Orton is using his only leverage.

The Cowboys have signed Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie in the offseason and added undrafted free agent Dustin Vaughan. They view Weeden as a developmental quarterback and would want Orton to fulfill the contract. If he doesn’t, then Weeden would be Romo’s backup.

“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.”

Kyle Orton not at Monday workout

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' offseason program began on Monday without veteran quarterback Kyle Orton, according to sources.

Orton had been contemplating retirement, but at the NFL Owners meetings in March his agent, David Dunn, said the quarterback would play in 2014 and retirement was never an issue. Since the NFL scouting combine in February, the Cowboys have stated their belief that Orton, who is set to make $3.5 million as Tony Romo's backup, would return.

The workout program is voluntary, but Orton participated in it his first two seasons. Only the June 17-19 mini-camp is mandatory. If Orton skips the mini-camp, then he would be subject to fines totaling close to $70,000.

If Orton's absence is prolonged it could affect the Cowboys' draft plans. The Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal with no signing bonus earlier in the offseason. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson attended the pro day of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray last week. At the combine, they had meetings with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales.

The last two quarterbacks drafted by the Cowboys are Quincy Carter (second round, 2001) and Stephen McGee (fourth round, 2009).

Austin should be a $9 million man

June, 12, 2010
IRVING, Texas – Miles Austin wants a long-term deal, but he’s not complaining about the probability of playing for $3.168 million this season.

As Austin pointed out this afternoon, that’s more than twice what he made last season.

But a lot has changed in the last year for Austin, who signed his tender yesterday. A year ago, people wondered whether he could be more than a complementary deep threat. Now the only knock on him is that he has to prove that he wasn’t a one-year wonder after his Pro Bowl breakout campaign.

As usual, Austin danced around questions about his contract negotiations. He called the talks between the Cowboys and agent David Dunn “cordial,” but he said he won’t worry about a situation that is out of his control.

Austin definitely wants no part of discussing numbers. Especially not the numbers in the contract of fellow receiver Roy Williams.

“I don’t like to compare myself to other people,” Austin said.

That’s his agent’s job.

Williams will make $12.95 million this year between his already cashed roster bonus and base salary. Austin was more than twice as productive as Williams last season but will make less than one-fourth as much money unless a long-term deal gets done.

Austin and Dunn have every right to demand $9 million per year. That’s the market the Cowboys set for No. 1 receivers. That’s about what they paid aging Terrell Owens when he filled that role. That’s what they gave Williams when they thought he was that guy.

That’s what Austin is worth, assuming last season was a sign of things to come. But the Cowboys aren’t in a hurry to get the deal done right now. They don’t have to be at this point.

All Austin can do is continue to produce. If he does that, he’ll do a lot better than doubling his salary the next time he signs on the dotted line.