NFC West: Broncos cut Orton

Kyle Orton? NFC West remembers that guy

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
7:19
PM ET
Three NFC West teams went into the most recent NFL offseason with unsettled quarterback situations.

Among the potential options: acquiring veteran Kyle Orton from the Denver Broncos. It never happened, but Orton's viability is worth revisiting now that the Broncos are releasing him.

A few considerations:
  • Orton would be subject to waivers, meaning teams with poorer records would have priority in claiming him.
  • Any team receiving Orton on a waiver claim would inherit his contract, which has $2.5 million in salary remaining for this season.
  • Kansas City, Houston, Chicago, Indianapolis and Washington have immediate needs for starting quarterbacks.
  • Orton will want to play for a team with a shot at the playoffs. He cannot control where he goes via a waiver claim, but any team acquiring him will have to gauge Orton's receptiveness to the situation.
  • The Arizona Cardinals have committed to Kevin Kolb, but they have little invested in a backup. John Skelton is coming off a tough game. Orton would be affordable within the Cardinals' salary structure. He would upgrade depth, but could also threaten to undermine Kolb, a risk the team might not be willing to take.
  • The St. Louis Rams are committed to Sam Bradford, but they probably would have parted with backup A.J. Feeley had the lockout not wiped out the offseason. Feeley fit with former Rams coordinator Pat Shurmur. Orton and current Rams coordinator Josh McDaniels were together in Denver, so Orton would know the offense.
  • The Seattle Seahawks have pretty much given up on Charlie Whitehurst. It's unlikely Whitehurst will return in 2012. Why not accelerate the process by adding Orton to the mix for the remainder of the season? Seattle figures to draft a quarterback, with Tarvaris Jackson returning in some capacity. There might not be a spot for Orton, but Seattle's personnel department hasn't been afraid to churn the roster.
  • The San Francisco 49ers are pleased with Alex Smith, obviously, but they could use veteran depth at the position. Orton would provide that depth. But with a 9-1 record, the 49ers would not succeed on a waiver claim unless Green Bay were the only other team submitting one.

I doubt Orton will land in the NFC West. Teams already had a chance to pursue him, and did not. Orton would add valuable depth for every team in the division, however.

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