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Cowboys Can’t Be Played By Kyle Orton

For whatever the reason, Kyle Orton has chosen not to be part of the Dallas Cowboys this off-season. Rumors remain that he wants to retire but the team would like him to play out his contract, which has one more year left.

Then there are the people who believe that Dallas should just release the back-up quarterback and cut their losses. Their thought process is that if Orton doesn’t want to play, then the team shouldn’t bother begging him to stick around.

That thinking is ludicrous.

Under no circumstances should the Cowboys just cut Orton and allow him to keep their money and affect the salary cap going forward. Jerry Jones was played by Jay (Jeremiah) Ratliff last season and has routinely thrown away money because of bad contracts in the past five years; there is no need to do so again. The Cowboys have begun to recoup some of the money Orton is owed by fining him because of missed mandatory practices and they should continue that practice as long as the quarterback stays away.

If Kyle Orton is serious about retiring, then he should do so and end the charade. Trying to hold out on announcing his retirement in order to keep the $3 million in bonus money he’s owed from the Cowboys is as selfish as it gets. Getting paid for doing nothing is just like stealing and Orton would not only be taking money from Dallas this season, but also from next year’s cap. Jones cannot allow that to happen.

The fair thing to do, if Orton does want to retire, is to inform the team he has no interest in playing anymore and give back that portion of his signing bonus. The Cowboys could use that extra cap space going forward and should not be forced to cave into the demands from someone who doesn’t want to be part of the team.

Until the Cowboys hear anything official, they should continue to fine Orton and force him to make a decision. Dallas seems to feel comfortable with what they’ve seen from Brandon Weeden thus far so there is no need to rush a decision on what to do about Orton’s status.

The time for players taking Jerry Jones’ money and doing nothing to earn it should stop now. At some point precedence must be set to let other players know that Jones is no longer giving out handouts. Orton should be a man and make a decision, not the other way around.

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Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Senior Analyst at SportsTalkLine
Writer for ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Lets talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi

  • DRS

    The $3 million in bonus owed gets thrown around a lot but I’m not sure that’s accurate The accelerated portion of the bonus is 3 mil because he got a 2 year extension on the original 3, but that extension was for salary cap purposes. He got the original $5mil bonus on a 3 year deal, and got no new bonus money for the extra two. It would seem to me that Orton has a legitimate argument that if he owes any money back, it’s only 1/3 of the bonus money (1.67 mil) not 3/5. While the team got salary cap benefit from the 2 year extension, they also took the risk with regard to the acceleration issue. By contrast, Orton got a bonus for a 3 year contract and performed for 2 of the years so….
    I’ve seen this issue briefly touched on elsewhere but no definitive analysis of it. I may well be wrong but it’s based on the info so far generated.
    Another thought as to Orton, and I suspect a reason why the team believes he’ll eventually show up. The fines are, in the grand scheme of things, trivial. All he has to do is show up for camp and not only does he put to bed any obligation to pay the team back, but he puts himself in position to earn this year’s salary as well.

    • Old Frog

      I take it a step further and say that “in Orton’s mind” he signed a $10.5 million deal at $3.5 million/year which means to this point he’s only been “over paid” $250,000 that he hasn’t already earned. If his agent let him sign a contract that said “you get $3.5 million/year for 3 years but if you only play for 2 then we’re only going to pay you $2 million/year and you have to give back anything more than that, then that agent should be fired ASAP – not to mention he and Garrett have the same agent so Jason better know what he’s signing.

  • SmartThinking

    Parcells used to say that as soon as a player started talking about retirement, he already had. There’s logic in that thought as it relates to the Orton matter. But the Dallas braintrust is playing coy just as much as Orton and this mess is turning into a media-driven stalemate.

    If the coaches really wanted to know Orton’s position, all they have to do is pick up the phone and call him. Worst case, phone his agent. No one on the team is proactive for some bizarre inexplicable reason we mere mortals aren’t privy to.

    Early on in this rapidly devolving mess, I figured Orton didn’t want to go through the boredom of training camp. He’d show up about a week before the first pre-season game and all would be right with the world again. But now, I’m beginning to think he either really wants to quit or he’s tired of holding Romo’s coattails.

    It’s also to his advantage to keep mum as long as the situation allows. The Ratliff mess taught us all that lesson. I want him back to keep Weeden from getting anywhere near a real football on a real Dallas football field.

    But it’s becoming more apparent that this thing still has more to play out before it will go away for good. And, until somebody talks to somebody, nobody’s really going to know how to solve the problem for either side.