NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday the Cowboys have informed Orton he will be released, according to a source who has spoken to the player. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the team's decision. The Cowboys later officially announced Orton's release.
The move comes after Orton -- who has been heavily leaning toward retirement -- failed to show up for any of the Cowboys' offseason activities. The Cowboys had been optimistic Orton would return for another season because of the substantial amount of money the quarterback would give up by ending his career at age 31.
The Cowboys' decision to release Orton means the quarterback will not have to pay back the $3.25 million in prorated signing bonus he received. Rapoport reported the Cowboys do gain about $2 million in cap space, which could be put toward getting a long-term deal done with Dez Bryant.
The decision is bittersweet for the Cowboys, who are undoubtedly happy to rid themselves of a potential training camp distraction but also must face the reality that Brandon Weeden is in line to be the team's starter if Tony Romo misses time. Orton was one of the more capable backups in the NFL. Weeden is a huge question mark, to say the least.
Weeden took all the first-team reps in minicamp as Romo continued his recovery from back surgery. The Cowboys have thought highly of Weeden's potential going back to his college days at Oklahoma State, but installing him as Romo's understudy is another level of belief.
Don't be surprised if another veteran enters the mix.