Free agent quarterback Kyle Orton agreed Wednesday to a contract with the Dallas Cowboys,eliminating one option for the Washington Redskins,, who are searching for a veteran backup for Robert Griffing III, the rookie they are expected to draft in April.

Orton visited the Cowboys on Tuesday and agreed Wednesday to a three-year deal, according to a person close to the negotiations. Orton will back up Tony Romo in Dallas.

The Redskins appeared interested in Orton. But Orton felt the Cowboys’ situation represented the best option available to him, the person close to the talks said.

The Redskins are expected to use the second overall selection in April’s NFL draft, obtained in a trade with the St. Louis Rams, on Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor. Griffin likely will be given a chance to start from the outset of his rookie season. But if he’s not ready to play, the Redskins may need a veteran on hand.

Quarterback John Beck and Jonathan Crompton, who spent all of last year on the Redskins’ practice squad, are under contract, but former starter Rex Grossman is a free agent. It’s not clear whether Orton’s decision to sign with the Cowboys will lead the Redskins to more strongly consider re-signing Grossman.

More on free agency:

Redskins reach deals with Garcon, Morgan

Options at right tackle

Jenkins: Cap hit is Snyder’s fault

Meriweather visiting Redskins Wednesday