So as it pans out, The Score had Mike Klis of the Denver Post on the air last night. According to Klis, Orton had his first child with his wife in August and he did not want to become a journeyman quarterback. He approached the Broncos in the offseason prior to the lockout asking to be traded in part to get away from Tebow-mania and have a fresh start with a team convinced he can be their long-term starter. After all, the Broncos demanded Orton in the Cutler deal and in return he gave them 3,800 yards, a career high 21 touchdowns, a respectable 86.8 Quarterback rating and over 60% completion percentage. As a reward for the effort, Josh McDaniels pushed to get Tim Tebow onto his roster and staked his reputation on it.
The twist ot this story comes in understanding Kyle Orton’s fragile mental psyche. To be blunt, he is mentally soft. Those of us who remember his Heisman caliber start to his final season at Purdue also recall him folding up shop after his fumble against Wisconsin in a primetime game. The same mental collapse happened when Tebow-mania hit town and Orton was viewed as a stop-gap until Tebow was ready to take the reigns. According to Mike Klis, Orton asked to be traded in the offseason but after John Fox saw Tim Tebow throw ‘helicopter passes’ in training camp, he put the brakes on the trade. The Dolphins and the other teams in search for a QB found their solution elsewhere; Arizona took Kevin Kolb, Minnesota acquired Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder and Seattle added Tavaris Jackson.
Now the Broncos are holding onto Orton in spite of fans taking out billboards asking for Tebow, chants at training camp and ESPN having daily updates in camp of Tebow-watch. Per Kliss, all of this went into Orton’s head and he couldn’t shake it. Fast forward to week one this season and Orton gave away the game with another costly late game fumble.
Orton once again was done mentally.
The Broncos stumbled out of the gates clearing the way for Tebow into the starting lineup. On the other hand, Orton was moved to the 3rd team solidifying his eventual exit from Denver.
The most glaring short-coming in the Broncos’ front office is on full display here as they have repeatedly proven to be totally inept in dealing with their fans and the quarterback position. In a matter of three seasons, they not only traded away Jay Cutler and opted to start a new with Orton but also traded for Brady Quinn, who was familiar with Josh McDaniels offense as he ran the same system at Notre Dame. They then drafted a polarizing quarterback to be the immediate successor creating a logjam of young highly regarded quarterbacks.
To top it off, to run Operations they bring in John Elway who fires Josh McDaniels and brings in a new offensive philosophy with John Fox. Not only did this system not fit Tebow’s future, but the front office even today admits that they are no closer to finding a long-term solution at quarterback. So after bringing in Orton, Quinn and Tebow, they still aren’t settled at the position. WHAT. A. MESS. If you want icing for the cake, they have now placed Orton on waivers getting nothing but salary relief for his exit from town. I bet they are glad they turned down Miami’s 4th round pick.
Interestingly enough, Klis made the claim that Orton’s representative asked for his release in what was described as Orton’s wish to move back to Chicago to play for a contending team as a qualified backup and short-term immediate starter. If the Bears opt to dump him after the season, he would then have better film to support his offseason search for a restructured long-term contract. This makes sense as Orton and his family are familiar with the city, team members, their families, coaches and the front office. Orton or his team have told the Bears that he wants to come to the Windy City.
The Bears have already submitted their waiver claim on Orton, and they need 29 other teams to pass on him before they can claim him. Those teams include Indianapolis who want no part of having 0-16 next to their name, Kansas City who believe they still have a chance at winning the AFC West, Houston who is looking at Matt Leinart and TJ Yates to lead them into the playoffs and the Dolphins who offered a fourth round pick for Orton four months ago. That being said, these teams may not want to bring in 2.5m for a quarterback who may not start 3 games for them the final six weeks. The strange thing in all of this is that Denver appears to be supporting Orton in the trade and may pull him off waivers if someone besides Chicago submits a claim on Orton. This means the Bears have a legit shot at bringing in Orton who would appear to give them a better chance at winning games against Kansas City, Denver and Seattle; the three of which would give them 10 wins and almost guarantee a playoff birth.
So, to a guy like me who was doom and gloom looking at the Bears bringing in the likes of Jeff Garcia, Marc Bulger or Matt Guitierrez, they now have a QB who has been working out and appears to have some gas left in the tank. I’m not so blind with optimism that I think the Bears are going to get an immediate playmaker capable of beating Green Bay. However, Orton does present a solution to the team’s offseason public desires of finding a veteran backup to Jay Cutler. Kyle provides an insurance policy to Caleb Hanie (who after all is Caleb frickin’ Hanie; hardly a proven commodity) and a back-up in Nathan Enderle who could be optioned to the practice squad. At 7.5m for this season and next, this deal could be a reasonable value in return.
A situation such as this in week 11 of the NFL season would otherwise be impossible to consider. This is truly a ‘best case scenario’ for Chicago and something I can not remember happening for/to any other team in NFL history. I mean seriously, who else has acquired a player of value at a position of need who is familiar with the organization and all of this after the trade deadline???
Here’s to hoping old neckbeard comes back to town. Someone stock up on the Jack Daniels !!