When the Cowboys released quarterback Kyle Orton in July, it was widely believed Orton was weighing stepping away from the game for good.
Well, not so fast.
On Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated Orton still has designs on playing in 2014, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
However, Orton won’t be playing for Dallas, which will move on with Brandon Weeden, Caleb Hanie and Dustin Vaughan as Tony Romo’s backups.
According to the Star-Telegram, Jones said the release of Orton was financially motivated, with the club now able to use some of the savings from Orton’s departure to address other areas, including potential contract extensions for wide receiver Dez Bryant and left tackle Tyron Smith.
By releasing Orton, the Cowboys got out from under his $3.25 million salary in 2014, but he gets to keep his signing bonus from Dallas.
Weeden, one of the Browns’ first-round picks just two years ago, got something of a vote of confidence from Jones on Wednesday, with the club’s owner saying his play helped the Cowboys feel comfortable parting ways with Orton, according to Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com.
If Orton indeed wants to play this season, he would rank as one of the top unsigned reserve quarterbacks on the market. A injury to a club’s starter could be a catalyst for interest in the 31-year-old Orton, who’s appeared in 75 regular season games.