Kyle Orton is done in Denver.
Orton, the quarterback who was handed the Broncos’ starting job in training camp only to lose it to Tim Tebow after five games, has been waived today, an NFL source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The move comes as a surprise, but maybe it shouldn’t: Tebow has solidified his hold on the starting job, and if the Broncos wanted to get a look at another quarterback later in the year, it would probably be Brady Quinn, not Orton. So if Orton isn’t going to play — and isn’t in the team’s long-term plans — why keep him on the roster and pay him another $2.5 million just to stand on the sideline holding a clipboard for six more weeks?
Where it gets interesting is that Orton now becomes available to any team that wants to put in a waiver claim for him. The Chicago Bears, who traded Orton to Denver for Jay Cutler, would have to strongly consider claiming Orton now that they’re in the midst of a playoff race and Cutler is nursing a broken thumb.
The Texans and Chiefs, both of whom also have playoff hopes and also have injured quarterbacks, would have to consider Orton as well.
Or perhaps a team that’s not in playoff contention — and therefore has a higher waiver claim than the Bears, Texans and Chiefs — will decide to kick the tires on Orton for the next six weeks. It wouldn’t be out of character for Redskins quarterback Mike Shanahan to decide he wants a look at another veteran quarterback, and it wouldn’t be out of character for Redskins owner Dan Snyder to be willing to spend $2.5 million to give his team a veteran addition.
It’s going to be an interesting Thanksgiving in the Orton house, as Kyle waits to see where his NFL career will pick up — and whether he could find himself going from Tebow’s backup to a starter on a team that’s fighting for a spot in the playoffs.