The Dallas Cowboys have found a suitable backup quarterback for Tony Romo; the Cowboys signed journeyman Kyle Orton to a three-year deal on Wednesday. The Cowboys couldn’t afford to over spend on Kyle Orton, but Jerry Jones wanted the veteran passer when he was waived by the Denver Broncos last season and spent $10.5 million on Orton’s three-year deal. Dallas was looking to sign a viable backup after Jon Kitna retired following the 2011 season and Orton agreed to play that role.
The Cowboys weren’t ready to make Stephen McGee the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart and signing Orton will give McGee some more time to develop. At least the Cowboys have a suitable short-term plan if McGee doesn’t pan out in the long run.
Orton played for Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson when he was with the Chicago Bears and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett prefers veteran quarterbacks over youngsters, which is primarily why Dallas didn’t pursue Green Bay Packers free agent passer Matt Flynn.
“We understand the importance of the position,” Garrett said. “Jon Kitna did a great job for us. When you think about Tony Romo missed the last 10 games of the 2010 season, Kitna was our quarterback. He really handled himself well as the leader of our team, playing the position. We thought it was a great value to having a guy like that.”
Orton is 35-34 in 69 career starts and can really sling the ball around with the right offense. With a the receiver set the Cowboys field, Orton should have no problem if called upon.