Plenty of teams could block Bears’ effort to get Orton

AP

It’s a nice, feel-good Thanksgiving week story.  Bears quarterback Jay Cutler breaks a thumb.  The Broncos have cut a former Bears quarterback who’d like to play in Chicago again.  And there’s nothing more natural than a homecoming on the fourth Thursday in November.

The only problem?  At least 22 teams can provide the flight delay and/or the traffic jam that prevents Kyle Orton from scarfing down sausage with the Superfans.

After the trading deadline, all players who are released must pass through waivers.  Priority is determined by record.  And so every team higher than the Bears in the pecking order will have dibs on Orton, if they choose to exercise it.

The Bears reportedly are No. 30 on the list.  Which means that every team except the 49ers and Packers will be able to grab him.

It doesn’t matter whether Orton “wants” to play for the Bears.  If another team claims him, he has 2.5 million reasons to show up.

At the top of the stack, what better way to test whether the Colts are in full-blown “Suck for Luck” mode than to see whether they’d bring in a quarterback who is significantly better than Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky?  They’d be crazy not to make a claim.  Unless they’re truly crazy for Andrew Luck.

The 4-6 Chiefs also need help, given the performance of Tyler Palko on Monday night.  (And with the Chiefs playing the Broncos again on January 1, there could be some strategic benefit to having him around.)  Ditto for the Redskins, whose head coach could be coaching for his job, with Rex Grossman and John Beck as the blanks in the bazooka.

And how about NFC teams that hope to pick off a wild-card berth if/when the Bears slide with Caleb Hanie or Nathan Enderle?  The 7-3 Lions, 6-4 Falcons, the 6-4 Cowboys (whose primary backup, Jon Kitna, is banged up), the 6-4 Giants, the 4-6 Bucs, and even the 4-6 Dream Team would have an incentive to block the Bears from getting their way.

Let’s also not forget about the Texans, who may not be completely sold on Matt Leinart, despite the decision to put all their eggs in a beer bong.

Finally, it would be foolish to overlook good, old-fashioned spite.  In 2002, Deion Sanders wanted to emerge from retirement and hop onto the silver-and-black bandwagon.  So the Redskins released his rights.  And former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer, the man whose presence in 2001 prompted Sanders to pick retirement over playing, put in a waivers claim on Sanders, short-circuiting his plan.  With three NFC North teams on track to make it to the playoffs, maybe the 2-8 Vikings would be tempted to keep the Bears from getting Orton, in the hopes that they’ll have company in the non-playoff party.

That’s highly unlikely.  But the point is that there are many possible motivations, and just because the Bears want Orton and Orton wants the Bears, it doesn’t mean he’ll end up there.  Indeed, the fact that the Bears and Orton are trying to rendezvous could be the tiebreaker for a team that is thinking about disrupting that plan.

UPDATE 10:35 p.m. ET:  As a reader pointed out on Twitter, claiming Orton has another benefit.  When he leaves as a free agent in March 2012, the team that employs him for six weeks would be in line for a compensatory draft pick.  So there’s one more good reason to consider doing it.

76 responses to “Plenty of teams could block Bears’ effort to get Orton

  1. When exactly does the winning waiver claim become official? Day and time? Maybe you could add that to the bottom of the column.

  2. If the Colts don’t take him, there should be an investigation by the league. That would prove the Colts are losing games on purpose.

  3. Washington, please. Beck is awful and should get the axe and I want to re-experience the glory days of the Grossman vs. Orton QB controversy.

  4. Don’t forget the Dolphins whom, although Moore is playing well lately, also were in serious talks to trade for Orton in the preseason. Now they can get him without the outrageous demand for high draft picks while upgrading the backup (for now) QB situation…

  5. Bears offered to send Cutler back to Denver in exchange but the Broncos don’t have room on their IR list.

  6. Chiefs are the best fit, but it would be pretty funny if the Bucs claimed him and forced him into retirement.

  7. snarkzilla says:
    Nov 22, 2011 10:54 PM
    Washington, please. Beck is awful and should get the axe and I want to re-experience the glory days of the Grossman vs. Orton QB controversy.

    ====================================

    Snarkzilla, be careful what you wish for. We had it here in Chicago, and it wasn’t good. Ortonwas good, the first 11 games he started he was 10-1.

    Once Rex came back from his ankle injury, Orton went to the bench and probably carried that issue with him to Broncoland !

  8. >That would prove the Colts are losing games on purpose.

    The Colts owner/front office are debauched enough to try it but I refuse to believe that their players are laying down. Their careers are at stake.

  9. The Colts are losing on purpose, there should be a lottery for the first pick. And how the heck is John Kitna banged up????

  10. I’ll never understand why there are never trades mid season. Move the trade deadline back to week 10 or 11. It will just make the league more competitive. Its not like there are tons of trades anyway. Even if Luck is the next Montana-Aikmen-Kelly there is no player who wants to lose. The front office might be another story.

  11. bigboi30 says:
    Nov 22, 2011 11:23 PM
    Funny if my Lions did it. Another way to send the Bears back to the gutter where they belong.

    Lions fan saying this. LOL.

  12. Is it really worth $2.5m to improve your compensatory draft pick? The rest of the article makes sense – there’s certainly a full range of reasons why other teams would claim him. Just seems like that would be an expensive way to get another pick.

    -QG

  13. Bears players are a bit nervous, since wherever Orton goes The Turk can’t be far behind. What if he’s drunk or hung over and “cuts” the wrong guy?

  14. So Orton comes back to Chicago just to be cut again once Cutler is healthy?

    Yeah I can see why he wouldn’t want to pass up that opportunity.

  15. No one but the Bears will claim him……………Teams are cheaper and smarter than most of us fans think.

    I thought it was a reach for the Raiders to think a OB could come in and contribute at that stage of the season…and that was a month ago.

  16. Why would the Colts claim him? Chalk up the bad season and take your first pick, at least do something right. They’d be paying him for nothing, they aren’t going to make a playoff push, what does it even matter? Same with Kansas City, teams need to quit fooling themselves and live with reality.

  17. All Orton did in Chicago was win. It wasn’t pretty but he won. What an asset in our upcoming AFC west sweep we are 1/4 the way through. Even if he’s just on the sidelines “coaching” Hanie. BEAR Down!

  18. “They’d be crazy not to make a claim. Unless they’re truly crazy for Andrew Luck.”

    Really?? Why would an owner throw away $2.5 million of his money to rent Kyle Orton for 6 games in the midst of a 0-10 season. Especially when it’s clear he would have no place in Indy’s long-term plans since they have one of the all-time greats to ever play the position on the roster and figure to be able to draft the most promising QB prospect to hit the league in 28 years before next season.

    Makes no sense.

  19. As a Broncos fan, I can tell u this. Orton wasn’t very good this year, or come to think of it, last year either! But he did try, & he is a decent human being that didn’t try to cause a distraction for the team. All of those who think he will retire rather than play for anyone other than the Bears are wrong. Orton will play for whoever claims him, because he is a competitor. And sadly for me & other Denver fans, it ain’t like he is accustomed to being on a “winning ” team!

  20. novascr says:
    Nov 22, 2011 11:06 PM

    Wierd thought: The Ravens were furious with the Bears for backing out of that draft day trade. Would they claim Orton as payback?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    That might not be such a weird thought. Karma can be a real back-breaker. I could definitely see it happening, and would love every second of it.

  21. Funny how how such a lousy QB like Orton is all of a sudden being looked at as the savior of the Bears and possibly the Texans. How quickly people have forgotten how awful Orton is.

  22. Orton is a bad fit for the Martz offense because Kyle has a scatter arm beyond 20 yards or so. There is a tweet from a denver writer that recently in practice Kyle hit Willis McGahee’s car with a pass intended for a wideout in the practice end zone. Sounds like the Orton I knew when he was QB for my Bears back in the day. His footwork is plain bad for long passes which is probably why Martz will resist the sign Orton movement that Lovie and Angelo may be a part of.

  23. aec4 says:
    Nov 22, 2011 10:17 PM
    How about the Jets? Orton is a huge upgrade over Sanchez.
    *******************************

    u stole my line… but seriously they should claim orton and choice too… as rexy says… its a game of field position and jets are in pole position in waiver line…

  24. fooseballfan says: Nov 22, 2011 11:29 PM

    I’ll never understand why there are never trades mid season. Move the trade deadline back to week 10 or 11. It will just make the league more competitive. Its not like there are tons of trades anyway. Even if Luck is the next Montana-Aikmen-Kelly there is no player who wants to lose. The front office might be another story.
    ____________________
    Moving the trade deadline has been discussed before, but they’ve left it like this intentionally. They’re afraid that if they move the deadline back, teams in contention will simply raid less competitive teams’ rosters to load up for a playoff run. In other words, they don’t want to be like baseball. While I don’t think it would be as bad in the NFL, the league is fairly accurate when it comes to their concerns. I doubt you’d see young players move much, but vets would definitely be moved for picks, likely shifting the balance of power amongst the more competitive teams in the league.

  25. earthtopft says: Nov 22, 2011 11:05 PM

    Bears offered to send Cutler back to Denver in exchange but the Broncos don’t have room on their IR list.
    __________________________
    Couple of quick points.

    1. Cutler isn’t on IR. The discussion is whether he’ll be back in time for the end of the reg season or the beginning of the playoffs (if the Bears make it).

    2. Why in the name of all that’s holy would the Bears try to trade Culter to the Broncos? That doesn’t even make sense as a joke. Cutler has been playing rather well, unlike that pseudo-QB in Denver.

  26. @bogboi30

    Youve been in the gutter so long nobody else even knows what it looks like without the lions face-down in it.

    We just horribly embarrassed you and exposed you as frauds. The pathetic claims of “b-b-but we’re 1-1 this season!” are laughable at best. I’ll take a reasonable loss in October over a beating in November any year.

    Thanks for playing. Enjoy the basement. Say hi to the Vikings for us!

  27. However unlikely Orton should fall to the Ravens, they should claim him & keep him from the Bears. Payback for that phantom draft day agreement.
    Karma’s a bitch, man.

  28. I doubt the ‘Skins will make a play for him. Both Shanahan’s make a huge deal of “knowing the system.” They almost certainly wont put him on the field until he has had several weeks of practice. At that point, it is nearly the end of the season. Orton will be pissed off because he didn’t want go to Washington and certainly didn’t want to sit on the bench any longer.

    He’d be on the last few weeks of a one year contract, on a bad team that is almost certain to draft a QB of the future. He wont want to be in that situation again. The chances of him deciding to resign are minimal.

    Moreover, by that point in the season I suspect even the most ardent fans, the coaches and even players with a number of years left on their contracts wont be that keen on winning the games that drop them down the draft order.

    Also, Grossman has better winning percentage as a starter than Orton. Chicago started Grossman ahead of Orton. Rex is also popular with his team-mates, who are unlikely to gel with Orton if he joins in mid-season. Ultimately, Good Rex is a better player than Orton, it’s Bad Rex that causes all the heartburn.

  29. All this Orton upgrade talk is giving me serious preseason deja vu. You can count on one hand the number of decent drives he engineered this season, which made satisfying Tebow fans a no-brainer. So now he’s going to walk into another system and thrive? This guy’s a buster and is only an upgrade to about half a dozen starting QBs in the league, all of which are backups anyway except for Sanchez and T Jackson.

  30. @bigboi30 says:

    Funny if my Lions did it. Another way to send the Bears back to the gutter where they belong.
    _________________________________
    The Bears belong in the gutter? Hopefully you don’t live in Detroit one of these filthiest crime ridden cities in the USA. But you most likely do.

  31. 2,000.00aec4 says:Nov 22, 2011 10:17 PM

    How about the Jets? Orton is a huge upgrade over Sanchez

    ———————-

    You are an upgrade over Dirty…

  32. Funny if my Lions did it. Another way to send the Bears back to the gutter where they belong.
    _____________________________________

    Another way would’ve been to not lose by 24 points. At least we know the gutter has been kept warm for the last ten years or so.

  33. Best of luck to a class guy who put up with a lot of crap from spoiled bratty fans whose only knowledge of the pro game is based on their own participation in fantasy football. NOTE: to all J. O. s out there: fantasy football is a game it is NOT the same as real football and playing it does not make you an expert! Thanks Kyle for setting a good example you earned every penny you got from the donks.

  34. Why would anyone want him in the first place,if he was any good the Bears would have held on to him the first time around,he couldnt even keep a starting job in lowly Denver and lost it to a kid that cant hit the side of a barn while standing next to it even with God on his shoulder,tell me again,why would any GM with half a brain want this guy,he certainly wont make them a better team,if he could do that he would still be in Chicago or Denver.

  35. Hadn’t thought of Orton to the Ravens, but it might make sense if you think of a Super Bowl run without Flacco…who would you rather have Orton or a rookie (Tyrod Taylor) with less than 10 snaps of experience?? Sticking it to the Bears with a little payback would just be too good to imagine !!!!

  36. Kind of ironic that instead of someone feeling down he was cut, he actually will find he is loved by many and wanted by many. Joke may be on Denver. After all they still have the tebow.

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