Kyle Orton finds himself in a familiar situation this offseason. The 28 year old former Purdue standout is again being overlooked. While all the talk about available quarterbacks has revolved around Kevin Kolb, Matt Hasselbeck, Vince Young, and even Mark Bulger, Orton has remained under the radar despite solid performances throughout his young career. After finishing in the top 11 in passing yards and compiling over 20 touchdown passes in each of the last 2 seasons, Orton remains the best option on the market for any quarterback-needy team.
Orton’s career, up to this point, has been chaotic. Even though he led the Chicago Bears to a 9-7 record in 2008, the team did not feel he was a championship-caliber quarterback and Kyle Orton ended up as nothing more than a space filler in the Jay Cutler trade during the offseason. After getting to the Denver Broncos for the 2009 season, Orton again produced a winning record, however, his new team still decided to reach for quarterback Tim Tebow during the first round of the 2010 draft. Although new head coach John Fox stands behind Orton as his starting quarterback, Vice President of Football Operations, John Elway, seems to be pushing for the Tim Tebow era to begin in Denver. With the Broncos still years away from competing for a title, I would not expect to see Kyle Orton on Denver’s 2011 opening day roster.
What teams should be trying to figure out a way to get Kyle Orton on their roster in 2011? Unlike a rookie or even the inexperienced Kevin Kolb, Orton allows a team to focus on winning immediately, making him ideal for a talented team that underachieved in 2010. I would envision teams like the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals, teams with established offensive units, with excellent skill position players that did not solve their long term quarterback issue in this year’s draft, being the most logical fits for the signal caller. Orton has never been surrounded with a talented receiving corps and, after making the streaky Brandon Lloyd look like an All-Pro in 2010, it would be scary to think what he could do with the likes of Brandon Marshall or Larry Fitzgerald.
At only 28 years old, not quite two years older than Kevin Kolb, with a winning record over his 61 career starts, and coming off 2 straight seasons where his quarterback rating has exceeded 86, Kyle Orton is the best option for any team looking to acquire a quarterback via trade or through free agency. Now, if this lockout would only end so that these types of moves could be made…