After the Broncos abruptly cut quarterback Kyle Orton on Tuesday, numerous reports emerged that Orton has a remaining salary of $2.5 million, which translates to a full-season base salary of $7 million in 2011.
But that number simply isn’t accurate.
Per NFLPA records, as confirmed by a league source, Orton’s base salary for 2011 was $4.5 million. With 11 checks paid and six to go, Orton is due to earn an additional $1.588 million.
Orton also received a roster bonus from the Broncos of $1.5 million after the lockout ended.
Since the Chiefs claimed Orton’s contract via waivers, the Broncos won’t have to pay him another dime. For the Chiefs, who as of Sunday had $27.4 million in cap space, $1.588 million represents a small price to pay for an upgrade over Tyler Palko. Then, if/when Orton leaves via free agency in March 2012, the Chiefs could end up with a compensatory draft pick in 2013.
Some have dismissed that motivation, pointing out that the convoluted formula for determining compensatory picks would translate to a mere sixth-round selection.
You know, like Tom Brady was.
UPDATE 12:15 p.m. ET 11/24/11: Orton also received a salary advance of $2.879 million from the Broncos. He already has received that money, and as a league source has explained, it the Chiefs will be refunding the Broncos at a rate of $169,000 per week, for a total of $1.01 million. Orton’s pay for the rest of the year continues to be $1.588 million.