Kyle Orton continues to practice as the Denver Broncos starting quarterback.
No one seems to believe he’ll start the season with the job, but no one really seems sure what will happen. This includes the Broncos and Dolphins leadership, who are weighing a lot of factors.
1. Orton’s contract.
Orton doesn’t want to go to Miami without a restructured deal with plenty of guaranteed money. He doesn’t want to be a stopgap. The Dolphins aren’t sure they want to give him much money when he’ll just be competing to play with Chad Henne.
Orton is essentially saying that he has a better chance for success in Denver, so he won’t make it easy on the Dolphins to trade for him without some assurances.
2. Tim Tebow.
Orton is reportedly confident he would win a quarterback competition with Tebow. Since Orton due $8.9 million, he’s fine playing this out in Denver. While Denver wants to see what Tebow can do, the coaching staff may want to keep Orton if they see him more.
3. Trade compensation.
The two sides disagree on Orton’s value here. We suspect if the money got handled, this could be worked out. The Broncos really don’t have that much leverage. They will likely have to come down off their asking price if they truly want to move Orton. Miami seems open to exploring other possibilities.
4. Chad Henne.
The Dolphins want competition for Henne. But they might not really want someone ahead of Henne on the depth chart, especially after Henne led player-only workouts all offseason.
5. Salary cap.
Krieger notes in the Denver Post that dead money of players released recently won’t count against the 2011 cap. The money gets pushed into 2012. This helps free up room for Denver to fit Orton on to the team if they really wanted to.
6. A fresh start.
Do the Broncos really want to start the John Fox/John Elway era with this drama hanging over the team? It’s not a huge deal early in training camp, but they need to make a decision eventually. (Ask Mike Shanahan how indecisiveness can torpedo a first season in town.) We continue to think the Dolphins hold the cards.
7. Orton’s worst case scenario.
We think Orton is playing this just right. He has a contract with Denver and it’s not up to him to make life easy on them. He’s played well for the team and continues to compete. That’s what a player should do. He’s betting on himself.
But there is a risk. What if the Dolphins move on and the Broncos still cut Orton later in August to save cap room? We don’t think that will happen, but it shows that all three sides (Denver, Miami, and Orton) are taking risks in this game of chicken.