IRVING, Texas – Kyle Orton has done something few players in the NFL get to do: beat the system.
The Cowboys cut Orton on July 15 not long after the veteran backup quarterback told the Cowboys he would be coming to training camp. On Friday, Orton agreed to a deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to ESPN’s James Walker.
Orton spent most of the offseason hoping to retire, except the Cowboys would have come after $3.4 million in signing-bonus money he received in 2012 and ’13 had he decided to give up the game. He skipped the voluntary offseason program, skipped a physical before the mandatory minicamp and failed to report to the minicamp altogether. The moves would have cost Orton roughly $150,000 in fines form the Cowboys if he returned.
When he was facing fines of $30,000 a day if he skipped training camp, Orton told the Cowboys he would be in Oxnard, California. And then the Cowboys cut him, giving the backup job to Brandon Weeden.
Now he is with the Buffalo Bills and will start the season as E.J. Manuel's backup. Perhaps he starts if Manuel struggles. And he did not have to go through a day of training camp.
There is nothing the Cowboys can do to recoup Orton’s bonus money since they cut him. They decided they did not want a player who was not fully committed around the team and didn’t want risk him getting hurt after not doing a thing in the offseason.
My belief was that Orton wanted to retire. From all accounts, he was doing next to nothing to get ready for the season.
Be mad at Orton all you want, but teams rarely, if ever, show loyalty to players. Remember, we did see DeMarcus Ware at AT&T Stadium the other night in a Denver Broncos uniform. Players don’t need to be loyal to anybody but themselves.
In the stalemate between Jerry Jones and Orton, Orton won.