There were reports last week that Dallas Cowboys QB Kyle Orton was considering retirement. Jerry Jones addressed those reports on Sunday saying that while he has not spoken to Orton directly, he does expect him to return to the Cowboys next season to be their backup QB. If Orton were to retire, it would leave the Cowboys with Tony Romo as the only QB on the roster. While that may seem like a bad thing to some, I believe it would be a blessing in disguise.
Orton, who is 31, is in his final year of a three-year deal worth $10.5 million. He started for Dallas in their 2013 season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Orton played well, throwing for 358 yards, but he did throw the game and season-ending interception.
Some fans may believe it is important to have Orton because if Romo goes down he could step in. While I agree Orton is a capable backup, I do not believe he is a guy who can get you to the playoffs if Romo were to miss significant time.
Some Cowboys’ fans do not want to hear this, but the 2014 Cowboys will only go as far as Romo and his surgically repaired back can take them. If the playoff hopes depend on Romo, why have a highly paid backup? If Orton retires, the Cowboys would pick up some cap space.
There is an even more compelling reason why I believe Orton’s retirement would be a good thing. Orton’s retirement would force Jerry Jones’ hand. Jerry hates using draft picks on QBs. He has only drafted three since the year 2000: Quincy Carter, Stephen McGee and Isaiah Stanback who they tried to convert to a WR. If Orton retired, it would put increased pressure on the Cowboys to use a draft pick on a QB.
Dallas needs to start thinking about the future of the QB position. As long as Jerry has the safety-net of Orton as a backup, that is not going to happen. While Orton is one of the more capable backups in the NFL, it is much better for the long-term future of the Cowboys if he walks away.