The Cowboys were prepared to pay roughly $2.6 million in order to pick up Orton for the final six games. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, which could have netted the Cowboys a compensatory pick in 2013 if he signed elsewhere.
The decision to put the claim in on Orton speaks to the level of concern of Jon Kitna's back injury. Kitna will miss his second straight game when the Cowboys play Miami on Thursday, and there is no timetable for a possible return.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett expressed optimism that Kitna could return Dec. 4 at Arizona, but the veteran quarterback has not been seen at the facility over the last week.
Kitna, who is in the last year of his contract, has had soreness from time to time the last few years but has responded to rest in the past. He received a cortisone injection last week, according to multiple sources.