AFC West: Kyle Orotn

AFC West talent moving fast

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
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The top talent in the AFC West is being snapped up. With free agency just over a full day old, six of the top 10 unrestricted free agents in the division, in my opinion, are off the market.

The top free agent still available is Oakland's Michael Bush, who was No. 3 on our list. He is visiting the Bears and has a visit set up with the Bengals. Oakland may have difficulty retaining him.

The other top available free agents from the division are San Diego running back Mike Tolbert (No. 6), Denver defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (No. 8) and San Diego defensive tackle Antonio Garay (No. 10). Tolbert is visiting Kansas City on Wednesday.

The top AFC West talents already spoken for are: No. 1 receiver Vincent Jackson (left San Diego for Tampa Bay), No. 2 cornerback Brandon Carr (left Kansas City for Dallas), No. 4 tackle Jared Gaither (stayed with San Diego). No. 5 Nick Hardwick (stayed with San Diego), No. 7 quarterback Jason Campbell (left Oakland for Chicago) and No. 9 quarterback Kyle Orton (left Kansas City for Dallas).

What to do with Kyle Orton?

July, 29, 2011
7/29/11
1:40
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The Kyle Orton situation in Denver is officially a mess.

Let’s get things clear: No matter what the Broncos may now say in the aftermath of the flubbed trade attempt, they wanted to trade Orton. They wouldn’t have spent the past three days trying to deal him to Arizona or Miami for their health. They wanted to move the veteran quarterback to clear salary-cap space and they wanted to give Tim Tebow an open highway to see if he can be the future of the franchise.

Now, Denver is at a major crossroads.

Tired of waiting for the road blocks to clear, Miami has acquired Matt Moore and they are reportedly out of the Orton mix. Of course, with Kevin Kolb in the fold, so are the Cardinals. No other team is currently in the market for a starting quarterback. That will only change if a quarterback suffers an injury during the preseason.

So what do the Broncos do? They are stuck with a valuable player they don’t want and their quarterback situation is a complicated mess. Whatever Denver does, it has to make a decision quickly.

Here are the Broncos’ choices: They can cut Orton. They can make him the starter. They can make him the backup to Tebow and wait for someone to get hurt.

Keeping Orton as the starter while waiting for another quarterback to get hurt is tricky because it will stunt Tebow’s development. This is a player who needs all the repetitions he can get in a year in which the lockout took away priceless offseason time from Tebow and his coaches. If Tebow is going to be Denver’s starting quarterback Sept. 12 against Oakland on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football," he needs to work with the first team pronto.

What would starting a quarterback it didn’t want in Orton do for Denver’s long-term progress? This is a team that is rebuilding. Orton won’t be there in 2012, and not finding out what Tebow can do until 2012 would be counterproductive as well.

The Broncos are in a tough spot as a result of the Dolphins’ decision. Denver has to decide what to do and live with it.

UPDATE: NFL.com reports the Dolphins are still interested in Orotn. That would be good news for Denver.

Ranking the QBs

April, 25, 2010
4/25/10
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We had a shakeup amongst AFC West quarterbacks this weekend. Oakland traded for new starter Jason Campbell and Denver drafted Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who the Broncos hope becomes a starter soon.

Because of the action, it is time to rank the quarterbacks, in my opinion, in the division. I’m only ranking the players who I project to be the starting quarterback when the season starts.

1. Philip Rivers, San Diego: OK, it’s not even close. Rivers is a top-five NFL quarterback who is getting better. He is 28 and in the prime of his career. He has premier skills, a smart player and he is a terrific leader. He is the full package. He’s the best player in this division and the primary reason why San Diego is head-and-shoulders above the competition in the division.

2. Jason Campbell, Oakland: After Rivers, the quarterback class tightens quickly. I think Campbell is slightly better than Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. It’s very close. All three of the quarterbacks are in the same range. But I give Campbell the edge over Orton and Cassel because he is good fit and his big arm fits what Oakland wants to do. I think Campbell is a player who could be entering his prime.

3. Kyle Orton, Denver: Orton had a solid year for the Broncos last season. But he seems like a player who has reached his ceiling. The Broncos clearly must feel that way since they drafted Tebow to be the quarterback of the future. Orton is a bridge player in Denver. He is not bad, and he played better last year than I thought. Teams can do worse than with Orton behind center.

4. Matt Cassel, Kansas City: Look, this isn’t a major indictment on Cassel. I could easily see him move up to No. 2 on this list next year. He is a decent player. But I think he needs to have a strong season in 2010 to show he is better than Orton. He’ll get the opportunity. He has a better supporting cast than he did last year and he’ll have better protection. Cassel can get some things done. Now, he has to show it.

This is now a fairly respectable quarterback division when you trade out JaMarcus Russell for Campbell.

Afternoon AFC West notes

September, 8, 2009
9/08/09
3:20
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


It’s being reported the Jets’ interest in Denver receiver Brandon Marshall is waning. The Broncos aren’t pushing to trade Marshall. It may be in the Jets’ best interest to make other plans.

Four ESPN experts believe this is the year that the Chargers become the San Diego Super Chargers. I’ll tell you this: If the Chargers don’t make a long run, I think the lofty predictions will stop in future years. It’s time for the team to cash in.

In Denver, backup quarterback Chris Simms said he’s ready to play after dealing with an ankle injury. But Simms thinks Kyle Orton will play through an index finger injury Sunday. Also, Denver rookie running back Knowshon Moreno is ready to play after dealing with a preseason knee injury.

Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon expresses his disappointment in the franchise in a radio interview.

Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers appears ready to play after dealing with an injury. That’s good for the Chiefs. He’s a quality player and he’s needed.

Meanwhile, the Richard Seymour saga continues without much resolution. Really, I don’t see any other resolution other than Seymour being in uniform for the Raiders on Monday night against San Diego. Unless he wants to retire. And I don’t think that’s going to happen. Don’t be shocked if the Raiders try to find a way to give Seymour a contract extension to convince him to come West.

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