Jerry Jones has no hard feelings about former backup quarterback Kyle Orton and his decision to sign with the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
Orton and the Cowboys were at a stalemate most of the off-season with Orton contemplating retirement and missing off-season training programs, including the Cowboys’ mandatory minicamp.
The Cowboys fined Orton for missing minicamp, but he informed them that he intended to report to training camp, which would allow him to avoid paying back $3.4 million in signing bonus money he received in 2012 and 2013.
At that point, though, the Cowboys had already committed to Brandon Weeden as their backup and conceded the game of chicken by releasing Orton on July 15.
Orton has since resurfaced with the Bills to serve as E.J. Manuel’s backup and even got a raise with his one-year deal worth $5 million.
“It didn’t really surprise me because right at the end, right when we started to camp, Kyle basically came to Dallas and expressed an interest in playing,” Jones said on his weekly KRLD-FM radio show Tuesday. “But we had decided to go in a different direction.”
Orton started one game — last year’s regular-season finale against Philadelphia with a playoff trip on the line — in his two years with the Cowboys. Orton completed 30-of-46 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Cowboys’ 24-22 loss to the Eagles.
Jones expects to see the same Tony Romo, only better.
The Cowboys owner said on his weekly radio show that Romo will return to form after having surgery Dec. 27 to repair a herniated disk. In fact, Jones expects Romo to be even better because of new play-caller Scott Linehan.
“You’ll also see an improved player relative to the experience and the time that he’s spent with his new coordinator [passing-game coordinator Linehan],” Jones said on KRLD-FM. “This is a real successful matchup, and I think these guys are going to be pretty effective with the way they work together.”
Romo will get three consecutive days of practice for the first time since his surgery, which forced him to miss a Week 17 game against Philadelphia last season. Romo practiced Monday, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he anticipates Romo practicing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for San Francisco on Sunday.
Dez Bryant’s self-imposed, contract-negotiation deadline is fast approaching.
Bryant has indicated that he will cut off all negotiations with the Cowboys until after the season if a deal doesn’t get done before Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Bryant put the deadline in place so he could focus on the season without distractions.
The Cowboys placed defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on reserve/injured-returnable list. He will be eligible to return to practice anytime after Week 6, and a determination on his active status can be made anytime after Week 8. The club signed defensive end Jack Crawford.
The club also signed tackle John Wetzel and defensive back Jemea Thomas to its practice squad.