Weeden offers some protection at the least

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
5:30
PM ET

IRVING, Texas -- Most of the reactions to the Dallas Cowboys signing quarterback Brandon Weeden have been sarcastic, mean and vulgar, which is fine, although on a public forum you would expect more people to have some decorum.

That’s another conversation for another time for some sociological experiment at a pay grade much higher than mine.

I'll just stick with the signing of Weeden.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Weeden
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsAdding former Browns QB Brandon Weeden cost the Cowboys very little.
The Cowboys are taking a low-cost, low-risk move on a former first-round quarterback who had to suffer through playing for the Cleveland Browns. If it does not work out, then it costs the Cowboys nothing. If it does work out and Weeden makes the roster, then he counts $75,000 more against the cap than Quinton Spears.

Who?

Exactly.

The Cowboys wanted to have another arm available to them in the offseason program to protect themselves from overworking Tony Romo during the quarterback’s recovery from rehab. And if Kyle Orton is serious about this retirement talk, he won’t be a part of the offseason program, either. The only part of it Orton would have to show up for is the June minicamp.

If Orton does retire, he would need to repay $3 million of a $5 million signing bonus he received in 2012. Do you think he wants to pay that money back? If the Cowboys cut him, he’s free and clear.

The addition of Weeden can actually help the Cowboys later in the summer. As I detailed here, perhaps there is a trade scenario that could develop in training camp for Orton or even Weeden if a team loses a starting or backup quarterback.

If Weeden does stick, then the Cowboys have a veteran quarterback behind Romo in 2015 to be the backup who spent a year around the players, learning the system. (I will quickly acknowledge the system might not be the same in 2015 should Jason Garrett not earn an extension.)

The addition of Weeden does not preclude the Cowboys from drafting a quarterback in May, either. It does not even mean they will keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster when the season starts.

There was a time not so long ago that more than a few teams liked Weeden. Maybe not as much as the Browns, who took him in the first round, but enough that they thought he could play. His record is poor, but find me a quarterback with the Browns with a good record. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is poor, but the Cowboys aren’t asking him to come in and start.

The NFL is a player acquisition business. On Monday, the Cowboys acquired a player whom they liked two years ago, who played well enough against them in 2012 and costs nothing but a spot on the roster right now.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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