What cutting Kyle Orton means

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
6:15
PM ET

The Denver Broncos cut former starter Kyle Orton on Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on the move:

Shrewd move by the Broncos: Give the Broncos a lot of credit for making this move now. They waited for some teams to get injuries – the Chiefs, Texans and Bears are all have suffered recent injuries at the position. Thus, Orton will likely be claimed Wednesday. If so, Denver will save the remaining $2.5 million in his deal. Orton is a free agent at the end of the season and there was virtually no chance he was going to take another snap in Denver, anyway.

No affect on Tebow: Don’t be fooled that the release of Orton is a sign the Broncos are prepared to commit long-term to Tim Tebow, who took over for Orton five games ago. The Broncos had no interest in re-signing Orton next year and Tebow is likely safe for the rest of the season. If Tebow were to be replaced this season, Brady Quinn would get the call. So, the release of Orton does not affect Tebow’s playing future.

Win/win: I wrote on the day Denver made Tebow the starter that the Broncos should get rid of Orton. He no longer served any purpose in Denver. He was not interested in being a backup to Tebow and Orton is likely thrilled to get a chance to go elsewhere. This has been coming since July. Remember, Denver tried hard to trade Orton to Miami as soon as the lockout ended. Orton’s presence on this team this year has been awkward. After going 1-4 with Orton, Denver is 4-1 with Tebow. The reality was, the Broncos were moving on without Orton whether he was or wasn’t on the roster.

Orton served his purpose in Denver: The Broncos were 4-14 with Orton since the start of last year and 8-8 with him in 2009. But he did have some moments. He was a decent bridge quarterback after the Jay Cutler trade with Chicago, which he was a part of. Orton was never great, but for a time, he was a productive player for Denver.

Who could be interested? The top possibilities, on paper, include Kansas City, Houston and Chicago. All three teams suffered recent injuries. I will come back with a post later on how I see Orton would fit there. I think Chicago would like to bring back Orton for the rest of the regular season with Cutler out. Houston, though, will not go after Orton, according to a local report. It wouldn’t be a major shock if a team such as Indianapolis or Washington puts a claim in just to see if he could be a good fit.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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