Quinn is a low-risk endeavor for Denver

March, 14, 2010
3/14/10
7:41
PM ET
My reaction to the Denver Broncos’ decision to trade for Brady Quinn?

Why not?

Quinn
Quinn
Orton
Orton
It's worth taking a chance on this former No. 1 pick. Denver did not give up much for Quinn, swapping backup running back Peyton Hillis, a sixth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional 2012 pick for Quinn.

That’s not a whole lot for a former first-round pick who is just 25 years old. Quinn may be heading toward bust status, but he has not been officially written off as a wasted prospect.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels has a great reputation for working with quarterbacks. Quinn fits McDaniels’ system. McDaniels made Matt Cassel a strong player in New England in 2008 and Kyle Orton performed well much of last season under McDaniels.

Maybe McDaniels can help Quinn reach his potential. Quinn will likely be very comfortable with McDaniels coaching him. Quinn played for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. McDaniels is a Weis protégée.

Denver considered making a run at Quinn last year. The price tag would have been much higher. Denver got Quinn at a bargain basement price Sunday because Cleveland washed its hands of him. Quinn was 2-7 as Cleveland’s starter last year. He was mistake prone.

It does say something that new Cleveland head honcho Mike Holmgren had no interest in keeping Quinn. Holmgren knows his way around a quarterback room.

Still, McDaniels sees something in Quinn and he didn’t overspend to get him. It is worth it. If Quinn is the same bumbling player in practice in Denver as he was in games in Cleveland, it will go down as a low-cost mistake.

Orton will likely go into the 2010 season as the starter, but Quinn will be given the chance to compete with him and make his case to be the long-term quarterback. At the very least, Quinn appears to be an upgrade at backup quarterback over Chris Simms, who was atrocious last year when he had to play for an injured Orton.

Orton will surely feel more heat from Quinn this summer than he did from Simms last year. Denver brought in Quinn to see if he can become a solid starter at some point. Orton has to know it. Simms was never a threat.

It will be interesting to see if Orton shows up for Denver’s offseason conditioning program that starts Monday. Orton is a restricted free agent (he was given the first-round tender) and most restricted free agents aren’t expected to report to the offseason programs because they won’t sign their tenders until the summer. Perhaps Orton will feel the need to show up.

Or perhaps he will stay away as a form of protest.

I don’t expect Quinn to be ready to beat out Orton right away. It may take McDaniels some time to help Quinn erase his past on-field demons. But if Quinn has a good training camp and a better preseason than Orton, Denver might want to give him a chance to become the long-term answer at quarterback.

Quinn’s arrival in Denver may mean the Broncos won’t draft a quarterback early and go with a trio of Orton, Quinn and 2009 sixth-round pick Tom Brandstater in 2010.

In short, this move gives Denver options and it gives it a chance to resurrect the career of a player who was considered a top-flight prospect just three years ago.

At the price, it was a worthy trade.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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