Cowboys officially release backup QB Kyle Orton

The Dallas Cowboys made it official Wednesday. They have released Kyle Orton.

Orton, who signed with the Cowboys as an unrestricted free agent in 2012, had one year left on his current contract. His next step could be to join another team or retire.

If the Cowboys did not cut Orton and he decided to retire, the 31-year-old backup quarterback would have had to surrender $3.4 million of his signing bonus.

Orton was due to receive $3.25 million in base salary this season. While his departure frees up cap space this season, Orton’s release adds $2.2 million of dead money to the 2015 cap, according to

Tony Romo’s backup quarterback now becomes Brandon Weeden. The Cowboys signed Weeden, 30, in March to a two-year deal. The former first-round pick will make $570,000 in 2014 and $660,000 in 2015.