Brandon Weeden takes over as backup QB

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
1:00
PM ET
The backup quarterback, or who we think should be the backup quarterback for Dallas Cowboys is missing.

Kyle Orton is thinking of retirement.

Weeden
Team officials anticipated Orton coming to the voluntary offseason workouts. Didn't happen.

Then team officials said Orton was expected to show up for the mandatory three-day minicamp last week. Didn't happen.

Coach Jason Garrett, who shares the same agent as Orton, anticipates him coming to training camp in late July.

Will it happen?

It appears doubtful because Orton wants to retire. He doesn't care about the amount of money, nearly $3.2 million in base salary that will be lost.

All the fines and signing bonus money the team wants back, it most likely won't happen. They can ask, but it doesn't mean they're going to get it. The fine money the team gets is from the base salary. If there's no base salary then there's, in reality, no fine money.

In terms of the signing bonus money the Cowboys want back, it's from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. How could they get that money back?

Orton participated in those seasons already, including in the regular-season finale with Tony Romo out with a back surgery.

So this leaves the Cowboys with a 30-year old as the backup quarterback to Romo in Brandon Weeden.

He spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns and went 5-15. It seemed the Browns were going through a transitional phase every minute and after two seasons, Weeden and new general manager Ray Farmer agreed it was time to part ways.

Weeden said there are no hard feelings with the departure from Cleveland and if anything, playing in Dallas is a fresh start for him.

"Those scars have healed," Weeden said. "I'm good. I don't worry about it. I enjoyed my two years, met some good buddies, I've moved on and I'm excited to be here and excited for the opportunity."

What the Cowboys lost in Orton, a veteran with 70 starts on his résumé, is someone who gives the team a better chance to win a game than Weeden.

Yet, that doesn't mean Weeden can't win a game in the NFL.

If the Cowboys plan on increasing the running attack in 2014, then DeMarco Murray should thrive if Weeden plays.

Dez Bryant knows Weeden well from their days at Oklahoma State. Weeden said Bryant has improved as a route runner from his days in college.

There is a chemistry building this offseason between Weeden and the offense because he received the first-team reps in the offseason workouts as Romo rehabbed his back injury and Orton stayed away.

"But that's not why I go out here every day," Weeden said. "I go out here every day to get better and build on what I have done the last two years. It's not about saying I'm going to be the backup. That takes care of itself. If you play well and you prove to guys around you and the coaching staff, things will fall into place. That's my main focus."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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