- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Big news of the afternoon is Adam Schefter's report that the Denver Broncos have waived Kyle Orton, who was their starting quarterback at the beginning of this season but lost his job to the unstoppable, inexplicable force that is Tim Tebow. There will be reaction to this news in all corners, but in ours the reaction centers among Washington Redskins fans who want to know if their team will claim him or sign him if he clears waivers.
Couple of things.
First, according to Adam's report, the Broncos decided to waive Orton in the hopes that one of these teams -- the Bears, Texans or Chiefs -- that recently lost its starting quarterback for the season to injury -- will pick him up and, along with him, the $2.5 million salary still left on his contract for this year. That's a pretty good chunk of salary for six games. If you're the Bears or Texans and your hopes of a playoff or Super Bowl run are riding on Caleb Hanie or Matt Leinart, maybe you spend it. If you're the out-of-contention Redskins and Rex Grossman is running your offense as well as can be expected given the team's injury-imposed deficiencies at running back, tight end, wide receiver and offensive line, maybe you keep that $2.5 million in your wallet.
However, I know for a fact that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan thinks highly of Orton. And while one of those other teams may have more of a pressing and immediate need for a veteran quarterback, the Redskins are ahead of them on the waiver list and could get him if they wanted to get him. If they decide it's worth it to spend the money, or if he gets through waivers, I could certainly see the Redskins making a move for Orton.
They are a future-focused organization right now, and I do expect them to address the quarterback position in next year's draft. But it's important to be deep at the quarterback position. Some teams (Bears, Colts, Chiefs) aren't, and it's hurting them right now. Some teams (Eagles) are, and they can handle the loss of their starter a bit more easily. Even if the Redskins do draft their quarterback of the future in April, nothing's promised. What if the kid's not ready right away? What if he gets hurt? What if they can't get the guy they wanted because everybody needs a quarterback and the draft led them instead to wide receivers and offensive linemen? Orton's a guy they like, available now, why not get him in so he can learn the offense?
Don't rule it out, is all I'm saying. I wouldn't make the Redskins the favorites for Orton, and I'd be mildly surprised if he's not a Bear by the time you're carving your turkey on Thursday. But I'm sure they'll at least look into it, and they'd be silly not to.