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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Could Orton be long-term answer at QB?

By Bill Williamson

Now that Kyle Orton will finish the season as the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, does Matt Cassel have anything to worry about going into next year?

Well, he has more to worry about than he would had Tyler Palko remained his replacement.

I still think the Chiefs are committed to Cassel – who is out for the year with a broken hand -- for next season. But what if Orton clicks with the offense and leads the Chiefs to the playoffs? I guess all bets would be off.

Orton is a free agent at the end of the season, so he is auditioning for the entire league. If he builds a good thing in Kansas City, I could see the Chiefs being open to keeping him.

I do believe the current thinking is simply to have Orton play this year. The chance to get the experienced Orton for the rest of the season was the team’s primary motivation when the Chiefs claimed him Wednesday. Denver put him on waivers Tuesday.

But I’m sure the Chiefs will keep an open mind toward the future, especially since Orton and Cassel are fairly comparable players.

How does Orton’s presence affect Palko and Ricky Stanzi? I don’t think it affects Stanzi, the team’s fifth-round pick this year, at all. He is a project and he wasn’t going to play this season regardless. As for Palko, he is a low-level backup. He’ll play if Orton gets hurt, but the Chiefs had a chance to upgrade and they took it.

If Orton does leave Kansas City as a free agent, the Chiefs could get a compensatory pick for him in 2013, depending on how the rest of the team’s 2012 free agency develops.