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June 18, 2014

Just CHILL: Cowboys unlikely to get any money back from Kyle Orton, not even fine money

Clarence Hill

 The Cowboys are certainly talking a good game with the hard-line stance they are taking with holdout quarterback Kyle Orton.

In the end, they are are likely going to lose this game of chicken with Orton, who seemingly has no interest in playing football anymore but doesn't want to repay $3 million in signing bonus money.

If he retires, Orton would have to repay the Cowboys so he wants to be cut.

The Cowboys have no interest in cutting Orton and letting him walk away free and clear -- not after getting played by nose tackle Jay Ratliff a year ago when he forced his way off the team by feigning a season-ending injury only to sign with Chicago Bears after being cut by the Cowboys.

No way Jerry Jones and the Cowboys were going to get hook winked again.

So they are fining Orton $70,000 for missing minicamp and will fine him $30,000 a day if he fails to show up for training camp.

But that's just it: If Orton shows up for training camp and passes the physical, what are the Cowboys going to do?

He is not going to give them a ready-made case but being a no-show.

If he was going to do that, then he might as well retire and save everybody the trouble.

So the Cowboys are in a pickle. 

They have already moved on from Orton on the field with Brandon Weeden on board as the primary backup to Tony Romo.

Weeden even ackowledged that when he signed with the Cowboys in March he knew of Orton's interest in not wanting to play. The Cowboys have known it all along as well. 

Besides there is no way they can keep Orton on the roster after this off-season stunt. You can't preach to your team about being accountable to each other, about being all in and selfless and then bring Orton back into the locker room.

And if the Cowboys cut Orton in training camp or after training camp, there is nothing they can do to get the $3 million back.

The Cowboys do get to save his $3.25 million base salary for this year, money they could use to sign tackle Tyron Smith and/or receiver Dez Bryant to long-term contract extensions.

But that pro-rated bonus money they hope to get back is all but lost.

The Cowboys could try to file a grievance, citing Orton as a distraction to the team due to attitude/actions. But that is hard to prove, especially if he shows up to training camp in shape and attends meetings on time.

The off-season program is voluntary. And the minicamps are mandatory in name only considering players are fined only $70,000 for missing the three-day workouts.

And regarding that minicamp fine, there is also little the Cowboys can do to get that money either. Fines are taken out of your salary. Salaries are only paid during the regular season.

If Orton is not on the team, where is the money coming from? 

Certainly they can file a legal grievance for that, but will it really be worth it in the end over a measley $70,000?

The Cowboys might as well cut their losses and move on.






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