Cowboys to cut holdout quarterback Kyle Orton


Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Dallas Cowboys are finally moving on from disgruntled backup quarterback Kyle Orton.

Per multiple sources, the team plans to cut Orton, who boycotted the offseason program and mini camp in an attempt to force his release.

The team's decision to release Orton paves the way for Brandon Weeden to head into training camp next week as the primary backup to starter Tony Romo.

The Cowboys had held on to Orton's rights hoping that he would retire, thus forcing him to pay back $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus they gave him two years ago.

Orton had no interest in paying the money back and now won't have to.

It's also unlikely the Cowboys recoup the nearly $70,000 in fines levied against Orton for missing mandatory mini camp in June.

Fine money is deducted from regular-season salary. Orton won't be getting a check from the Cowboys.

But cutting Orton saves Cowboys $3.25 million in cap space in 2014, money they can use for possible long-term deals for tackle Tyron Smith and/or receiver Dez Bryant.

Orton will count for $2.25 million in dead money against the cap in 2015.

A former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012, Weeden was cut in March after two lackluster seasons.

Weeden, who went 5-15 as a starter, has completed 438 of 784 attempts for 5,116 yards while throwing 23 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions. His quarterback rating in two NFL seasons is 71.8.

But it was rumors about Orton wanting out that prompted the Cowboys to sign Weeden as an insurance policy as well as a developmental quarterback for the future.

The Cowboys had always liked Weeden's potential since his days in college at Oklahoma State and believe he can succeed in the right environment. He played for two coaches and in two offenses in two years at Cleveland.

Per a source, the Cowboys gained confidence in Weeden as the primary backup because of his impressive play with the first-team offense during organized team activities and mini camp with Orton out and Romo recovering from back surgery.

Weeden, who will turn 31 in October, will be pushed in camp by Caleb Hanie and rookie free agent Dustin Vaughn.

But there is no doubt the Cowboys are focused on him as Romo's primary backup. It's a job that more important than ever with Romo, 34, coming off his second back surgery in as many seasons.

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