Kyle Orton quit on the Cowboys, forcing the team to eventually cut him and walking away with a full $5 million signing bonus despite putting in only two of five years of work. Orton then one-upped Brett Favre, waiting until training camp and the preseason ended before going back to work, signing a contract with the Bills.
Some look at the deal that reportedly will pay Orton $5 million this year and scratch their heads. He has created a perception that he doesn’t really want to play, and that he simply wants to cash large checks.
Despite a league-wide lack of talented quarterbacks, only the Bills took the bait, allowing Orton to breeze in a week before the season opener and giving him high-end backup money that could become low-end starter money, if EJ Manuel gets injured or doesn’t perform.
Looking at the bigger picture in Western New York, it’s not surprising that the Bills would roll the dice. With a new owner coming and said new owner unlikely to keep the current football operation in place unless the team is playing so well that the fans wouldn’t accept a changing of the guard, the Bills need a break-glass-in-the-event-of-emergency option, in the event EJ doesn’t quickly take it to the proverbial next level.
The players may be skeptical that EJ will be the guy, what with the whole not-a-captain thing. Which opens the door for the locker room to clamor for Orton, if Manuel regresses.
If/when Orton takes over, look for no one to display consternation or resentment over the fact that Orton swooped in at the last possible minute to get paid, without regard to whether he’s prepared to actually play. But if he doesn’t play well, it’s fair to question whether Orton’s lack of desire to work from March through August has affected his ability to thrive from September to December.