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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Why Cowboys, Kyle Orton could make sense

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- Sometimes you have to think a little crazy in order to make some wise decisions, so I bring you this: the Cowboys should put a waiver claim in on quarterback Kyle Orton.

Denver surprised many Tuesday by deciding to cut the veteran quarterback now that Tim Tebow has gone 4-1 as the Broncos starter. Any team would have to pick up the remainder of Orton’s base salary, which is about $2.6 million, and possibly pay Denver some salary it had forwarded the quarterback earlier.

It makes sense for the Cowboys for a number of reasons.

** It keeps Orton away from Chicago.

The Bears are 7-3 but will be without starter Jay Cutler possibly for the rest of the season because of a broken thumb. They are turning to Caleb Hanie to keep their playoff chances afloat. At 6-4, the Cowboys would get the priority over Chicago in the waiver process. Given all of the potential wild-card possibilities down the road, why not weaken one of your biggest competitors?

** Jon Kitna’s back.

Kitna has not practiced since last week and did not make the trip to Washington D.C. because of a back injury. He will not play Thursday against Miami and, according to multiple sources, he has already had a cortisone shot. If that does not alleviate the pain in his back, then Kitna could likely be on injured reserve. Stephen McGee did a nice job in relief of Kitna last year, but he does not have the experience of an Orton. If something were to happen to Tony Romo, then the Cowboys would be protected more with Orton.

** The future.

Orton is in the last year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent following this season. Say he joins another team in 2012 and starts every game. If all of that happens, then the Cowboys would be in position to receive a compensatory pick in 2013 and perhaps a decent one at that. You always want to get more draft picks.

Orton, 29, has thrown 79 touchdowns and been picked off 55 times. He has a 79.4 passer rating for his career.

And there’s this to think about too: he was coached in Chicago by Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. He also shares the same agent as head coach Jason Garrett in David Dunn.

Is he a great quarterback? Probably not. Could he help the Cowboys in 2011? Yes.

Is it crazy?