Armed with three signal callers, the Denver Broncos pruned their roster as they placed quarterback Kyle Orton on waivers Tuesday. Orton started the first five games of the season for Denver and led the team to a 1-4 record before losing his job to former first-round pick Tim Tebow.
“This was the right decision for our football team,” Broncos head coach John Fox said. “This gives Kyle an opportunity to help another team and showcase his talents.”
It’s rare that any starting caliber player would be available near the end of November, especially a quarterback. With Kansas City losing Matt Cassel for the rest of the season, Houston losing Matt Schaub and Chicago having to do without Jay Cutler, one of these teams may have the opportunity to claim Orton, who has started 66 games with a .500 record.
“Kyle is going to have more options in the NFL,” Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said. “He’ll get an opportunity to play somewhere else. We wish him the best of luck.”
An interesting turn of events would be if Kansas City has the opportunity and decides to claim Orton. With the Chiefs sitting at 4-6, just one game behind Denver and two games behind Oakland, it’s possible that Orton could start right away and have an opportunity to lead the team to an AFC West title. The Chiefs close the season against the Broncos, and that game could have postseason implications.
It’s possible that a team like Atlanta could put in a claim for Orton, if nothing else but to block Chicago from getting him. The Bears at 7-3 hold a one-game lead over the 6-4 Falcons including a head-to-head victory as both teams battle for a Wildcard berth. Chicago will likely have to play their final six games of the season with backup quarterback Caleb Hanie, who’s throws all of 14 passes in his regular season career.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie