ARLINGTON, Texas – With no appearance by Kyle Orton during their three-day minicamp, the Cowboys must now begin working to resolve the issue with their missing backup quarterback.
Despite Orton's absence this week – and the fines thereby incurred – Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday the team doesn't have a timetable for settling the issue. With minicamp now concluded, the Cowboys won't reconvene as a team until they depart for training camp on July 22 – where Garrett said he expects to see Orton in attendance.
"We anticipate him being at training camp," Garrett said. "Communication is a big part of that situation, trying to understand why he wasn't here and taking the necessary steps."
Orton has accumulated roughly $70,000 in fines by missing his team physical and three mandatory practices this week, according to the rules of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. Expensive as that sounds, it's a pittance compared to the $3.25 million the Cowboys owe Orton for the final year of his contract.
It's also not as much as the $3.4 million in signing bonus money Orton would have to return if he opts to retire before the season. He can keep that money if the Cowboys cut him.
"We have to do what we need to do as an organization in penalizing him the necessary amounts of fines and those kinds of things," Garrett said. "But we also just want to understand and communicate and try to figure out how this situation is going to play out and what's best for the Dallas Cowboys and for Kyle Orton." [embedded_ad]
It remains to be seen if Orton wants to play in 2014. For the time being, though, Garrett said the Cowboys will play it by ear for the next few weeks. As he has done several times during Organized Team Activities, Garrett used Cole Beasley's experience with leaving the team as a comparison for Orton's situation.
"Cole was a guy that, he was a college free agent for us, he showed a lot of good things in the rookie minicamp, and then when he came to training camp he said he didn't want to play football anymore," Garrett said. "We tried to step back as an organization, as a coaching staff, to try to understand what the situation was all about and be patient with him and give him a little time. It worked out well for us, it worked out well for him, so we'll try to handle the situation in a very similar manner."