Why the Cowboys value Kyle Orton

IRVING, Texas -- As the Green Bay Packers ponder life without Aaron Rodgers for at least a little while, the Dallas Cowboys are grateful to have Kyle Orton.

He is an expensive insurance policy, but do you think the Packers would like to have more than Seneca Wallace in the wings right about now with Rodgers out with a hurt collarbone?

The Cowboys signed Orton to a three-year, $10.5 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus in 2012. He has not thrown a pass this year and the Cowboys hope he doesn’t have to.

Teams with high-priced starting quarterbacks, like Rodgers, find it difficult to commit much financially to the backup. They gamble. Indianapolis did it for years with Peyton Manning, and now the Broncos are going with a youngster behind Manning in Brock Osweiler. The Patriots are doing the same behind Tom Brady with Ryan Mallett.

Resources are precious in a salary-cap league. If you committed mega millions to the starter, it’s hard to commit millions to the backup. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett talks about how the team values the quarterback position. He’s not just talking about the starter. He’s talking about the backup, too. That’s why the Cowboys have had Brad Johnson and Jon Kitna as backups under Garrett’s watch before Orton.

Orton played in one game last year, completing nine of 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Chicago Bears.

He has started 69 of the 72 games he has played in his career. He has 81 touchdown passes and 57 interceptions.

Would the Cowboys' offense be the same if they lost Tony Romo? Of course not, but they are better prepared to handle an injury to their starting quarterback than most teams.