Orton, Dolphins, and Broncos continue complicated stare down


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.

After reading through excellent breakdowns by Dave Krieger in the Denver Post and Jeff Darlington in the Miami Herald, here are the issues as we see them.

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.

64 responses to “Orton, Dolphins, and Broncos continue complicated stare down

  1. Haha Orton is scared that he won’t beat out Henne, and he’s probably right.

  2. Good breakdown. It would not surprise me if the Orton trade turns into the Quinn trade due to some of this. Quinn is not as capable as Orton and would require less money. If the Dolphins just want competition for Henne and not a full-blown QB controversy then they might shift their interest. They need a vet backup and there are not many left. Bulger? Denver could be left without a chair when the music stops if Miami drops the pursuit altogether

  3. One more factor: the fan base. I can’t believe Ireland and Sparano are unaware that the fan base is not going to take giving up another high draft pick for a questionable QB lightly. I like Orton. I think he fits what we want to do. He has history with Marshall. Yadda yadda yadda. But behind that thrum hisses a much more sinister voice. Feeley, it whispers. Culpepper, it sneers.

    I suspect we’d dump a DE easily, but not a top pick. The two-fecta doesn’t want to go there, and I can’t say I blame them….

  4. The future QB of the Dolphins is either Henne or next year’s 1st round pick. No need to blow their brains out on this interim measure.

    That said, the ‘Fins better find a back up QB quick.

  5. Would someone please tell Mike Brown to deal carson for some picks and then go after orton he would be a perfect fit for a west coast offense

  6. I could beat Henne playing left handed, he isn’t good enough to lace up Orton’s cleats. It’s a win/win scenario for the Dolphins, they don’t have to give up much and they get a QB who can actually deliver the ball to his receivers…this trade is a no brainer that should’ve already happened.

  7. Just sit tight Dolphins. The Broncos don’t want him, so you will get him for much less before its over.

  8. trojanmaaaan,

    Are you serious? Orton was actually mildly successful for the most part. It’s not his fault that Josh McDaniels screwed the pooch on every personnel decision. Chad Henne on the other hand…… sucks. If you put Orton back with B. Marshall, it’s game over for Henne.

    That said, if Orton goes, Brady Quinn is starting.


    (Oh and for the Brady Quinn haters…. come on, he played on the browns of 3-5 years ago…. who wouldn’t suck on that team?)

  9. I like Orton. Put up great numbers for a team last season that had no defense and no offensive line. Chad Henne, on the other hand should have left his non talent in Michigan, where all that deserves to stay.

  10. Look Miami if you can’t get Orton for a 3rd and he won’t take a maximum three year deal then move on.

    Focus on getting a vet in and don’t dare coming out of the 2012 draft without a 1st round qb.

  11. The dolphins are stupid and so are the Broncos. The Broncos went what 2 -12 with Orton last year ??? yeah he’s worth the money. Tebow is the future or hes not but Orton is definetly NOT. Take the 3rd and trade Orton and see what you got in Tebow. Either way the Broncos are a 5-6 win team and who knows maybe Tebows ability to inspire will get your team to 8-8 (Oh love or hate Tebow there is no doubt this guy is already one of the better leaders in the NFL. I don’t like his whole “Christian values” malarky but he is a super good person and teammates do love the guy)

    As for the Dolphins, Pay Orton. Give up the 3rd. The dolphins are so close to be a playoff team and even possibly a contender because of the defense. With Bush in the fold now (who imo his value is so underrated )if they have a QB who could get the ball down the field and hit a few screen passes to Bush and not throw to many INTs makes them a legit contender with that D.

    The Dolphins could make a run with Orton. I think people underestimate how good the fins could be. the biggest hold for them is QB and Heney is never going to be the guy.

  12. Dear Baby Jesus,
    Please don’t let the Broncos agree to trade Kyle. He is probably the most under-rated QB in the league. Instead, give the brown-cows an O-line and a running game, and he will succeed.

  13. The Dolphins should stand by their guns and offer up a 3rd or a 4th. He is not the answer, I’d rather keep Henne for another year and draft our quaterback next year. At the end of the day where is Orton taking us?

  14. Could care less about the Fins or Donkeys but I like Orton. Kid has taken a beating from fans and media throughout his career. I admire his professionalism.

  15. This so annoying. Orton needs to go and this is why. You have to figure out if Tebow can play. You only do this by letting him get all the first team reps (especially in a shorter offseason). Worse comes to worse we wind up with 2 wins and Andrew Luck next year. Best case scenario we have our franchise qb and the leader of our franchise for the next dozen years. Orton just keeps us in limbo. In order to achieve greatness you need to take great risks. I’ll go with arguably the best college player of all time when taking that risk…. Now go get us a defensive tackle EFX.

  16. Anyone no when the supplemental draft will be…

    There will/should be one because Caleb King is eligible.

    Would like to see the phins through a 5/6 for Trevor Pryor. and free agent grab for Caleb King

  17. lostsok says:
    Jul 29, 2011 10:29 AM
    One more factor: the fan base.

    That’s a nice sentiment… but have you learned nothing from the lockout?

    The NFL does not care about their fans.

  18. It’s amazing to me that a QB with a rating in the 50’s in the 4th quarter, and a 2010 record of 3-10 is being considered as “playing well” for the Broncos. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for the Broncos to get what they can for him, but he’ll never take them to the promised land. If you look at the last 3 games last year, Tebow’s Broncos had better offensive production. Tebow may not be the answer, but we need that question to be answered this year.

  19. Point #4 is screaming “trade Brady Quinn instead.”

    Seriously. He’s worth about a 5th/6th rounder, right? He’ll compete with Henne, and probably won’t be able to beat him out. Quinn has had a year in the backup role, and can do it again.

    Forget Orton, trade Quinn. There. Done.

  20. Ireland and Sparano are in desperation mode. They’ll let the novice Elway get the best of them in this deal. That’s cuz they just plain suck at what they do.

    The Dolphins are awful, they really are. It’s pathetic to see them run a team compared to the Patriots.

    Typical move yesterday. They went and got the style (Bush) instead of the substance (Sproles).

    This starts with Ross, so even when Abbott & Costello get fired after this season, we have Carl Peterson to look forward to. I guess on the upside, the offense will get better under him.

    Just awful……

  21. If I was the Phins I would sign Matt Moore. Takes the pressure of having to trade/sign Orton and means you’re not left holding the bag. I like Orton and I want him on the team but the Broncos are trying to play games. Take any leverage they might have away.

  22. As a long suffering Phins fan I just can’t fathom why anyone should have to compete with Henne. He’s proved he doesn’t have what it takes to be a starter. Orton would be a huge improvement. As far as I’m concerned if Ireland and Sparano hitch their wagon to Chad Henne and he plays the way he has in the past they should all be cut/fired after the second game. I just don’t get it!

  23. Neutral on both teams, but there’s no way Orton doesn’t beat out Henne for the job. Last year has hyped as Henne’s big moment and didn’t work out. At all. 2 of the 3 QBs on Denver’s roster would beat out Henne.

  24. domeunit says:
    Jul 29, 2011 10:32 AM
    I could beat Henne playing left handed, he isn’t good enough to lace up Orton’s cleats.
    Um, so why aren’t you in the league making millions then?

  25. In one day John Fox seems to have divided his locker room by letting his starting QB know that he is trying to trade him, and then embarrassing his potential QB of the future. I’m a Tebow fan, but Fox needs to get off the fence one way or the other and live with it. Bronco fans just want to move ahead with something definitive.

  26. Good article.

    For once.

    But let’s face it. All this will turn into is:

    “The Messiah waits”


    “Orton is comining into his prime”


    “They have a starting QB, and a backup TE for QB”

    All I know is that Tim Tebow is arguably the best player in college history, played well last year, and is probably a top 3 athletic talent in the league at his position.

    Not to mention he is an outstanding leader.

    All Orton does is play great at practice and in the first 3 1/2 quarters, then sucks balls. Bottom Line.

    I would rather gamble on a possible HOFer than Neck Beard. If the Broncos keep Orton, I will take the year off from football. NO JOKE.

  27. HAHAHAHA!! Orton won’t be “competing” with Chad Henne… Orton is 10 times better than Henne will ever be.
    Dolphins aren’t willing to give up a 2nd or 3rd for a starting QB? Pretty sad.
    BTW you won’t get any QB in the draft next year worth starting. You’ll be just good enough to not have a shot at drafting Luck or Barkley.
    This is your shot now to get a good QB.
    It’s Tebow time in Denver and Miami is acquiring all this talent to just put around Henne…. if that’s what you want then have fun!

  28. I really hope the Bronco’s start Tebow. I can’t wait for him to be exposed as a terrible NFL QB. He seem’s like a good guy and all but i can’t believe the cult like following this guy has.

  29. Miami needs to leave the Orton trade alone.

    The QB that would be a good fit for that situation would be Troy Smith. He has already proven he can learn a new system in no time and he would push Henne without the high cost of Orton and I’m sure he would be happy just to be on a team.

  30. patswhatsup says:
    @trojan Orton just wins.


    Orton Career W-L = 32-30…really?

  31. patswhatsup says:
    Jul 29, 2011 10:34 AM

    It’s not his fault that Josh McDaniels screwed the pooch on every personnel decision. Chad Henne on the other hand…… sucks.


    by your own logic…Henne’s shortcomings are totally Henning’s fault…and Henne clearly deserves another shot under a new system.

  32. The main thing that I think is important is that the Phins are not going with yet another 2nd round potential bust at QB. This isn’t Cam CaMoron who would have done this instantly. Bernie Kosar even remarked on Miami radio this morning that Elway is a stubborn guy when he determines what a player’s value is (as he saw when both were involved in Arena Football). Orton might be a good QB, he might not. He hasn’t proved to be a Pro Bowler, nor gone far in the playoffs and for those reasons alone, he’s not worth a 2nd. You build through the draft and that has been Miami’s problem all along. All the way back to Wanny Pornstache. Phil Merling and a 5th, or we take Quinn for a 6th (without Merling) and we draft one next year. As much as I would like an upgrade, I am thankful that Ireland is not blinking.

  33. Is Miami Crazy? If they are SERIOUS about upgrading there QB position they need to go get Orton. You already know what you have with Henne, a lot of bad decisions. You got one of the most physically imposing players in the league in Marshall and a QB who has relegated him to role player by not being able to get him the ball. Miami going into the season with there current QB is just asking for the fan base to go home by thanksgiving. Have you been watching what the teams in your division have been doing? You get Orton you got a shot with your 6th ranked D.

  34. Orton has the lowest passer rating for 3rd downs and in the RedZone.

    What’s the point in being able to throw for 350 yards a game but not being able to score in the redzone or complete third down passes?

    Apparently, that’s why the Cardinals didn’t want him.

  35. VY is now an Eagle so he won’t be headed to Miami. If the ‘Phins don’t get Orton they could get Marc Bulger or Jake Delhomme, or even Carson Palmer.

  36. Troy Smith!!!!! I would literally stop being a dolphin fan in an instant!! That would be laughable. I would literally leave work, proceed to their practices in Davie and laugh in Ireland’s face for about 5 mins. Then take a dump on the premises and wipe my @ss with a dolphins t-shirt!

    Ofcourse he’d be happy to be on a team! Wonder why?

  37. Excellent break down. However number four (4) is not accurate. The Dolphins do want someone ahead of Henne on the depth chart. Henne will never be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He is the mistake of Bill Parcells. The Dolphins should go after Vince Young and make his agent believe they will give him huge money. John Elway will start talking reality. I personally believe Vince Young is worth gambling on. However the Dolphins are not gamblers, they play it safe.

  38. why do they have so much faith in henne im not a henne hater but i just dont feel he has the IT factor or even the slightest hint of it.

  39. I don’t know what the exact split is with the Miami fans as far as getting Orton is concerned, but I can tell you this:

    Broncos Country IS NOT happy right now; or at least, about 80% of them are not happy. We went from a total lovefest a few days ago (when the Orton trade news started) back to the same ol’ bickering and blaming that’s plagued us for the last few years.

    Eff you, Miami… EFF YOU!!! May the facemasks of a thousand defenders find clear paths to the chins of every “QB” you put on the field.

  40. Marcus158- you need to fact check

    Orton had a 91 passer rating in the redzone the same as Drew Brees

    His 3rd down passer rating sucked because the broncos traded away his 3 best possession receivers.

    In 2009

    Ortons numbers were good in the 4th quarter redzone and on 3rd downs with Brandon marshall,TE Tony Scheffler,and Brandon Stokeley however his down the field passing numbers were non existent and everyone said he was a dink and dunk QB

    McDaniels got rid of all three last offseason

    In 2010 The Broncos decided to stretch the field with Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney and Ortons deep ball numbers improved but the broncos dont have one credible redzone threat in the passing game . Marshall and Scheffler were huge targets and provided mismatches in the redzone and Stokeley was a craft vet who knew how to get open in tight spaces.

    Ortons deep ball numbers shot up but his underneath numbers suffered bigtime

    2009 –

    4TH QTR, +/-7 PTS – 106.8 QBR rating

    3rd down – 87 QBR rating

    Redzone 94 QBR 17tds 1 pick

    2010 –

    4TH QTR, +/-7 PTS 58 QBR

    3rd down – 58 QBR

    Redzone – 91 QBR 13 tds o picks

    Orton has shown when given weapons he can just to what he has but he also is being penalized for doing that as he has never had the balanced offensive weapons that the top offenses have .

    How dangerous would Brandon Lloyd be over the top if the defense was watching Marshall underneath ? How much better would the broncos offense had been in the redzone with a receiver that could control of the middle of the field ?

  41. Poor Reggie Bush. It doesn’t matter if it’s Hennie or Orton, neither one can get him the ball on third down in the red zone. And it looks like Spags is going to demand that he actually run between the tackles, something Reggie just ain’t going to do. Boy, is Reggie going to miss Brees and Payton.


    Negociations, gotta love this stuff. Nicely played by all sides.

    Orton is also making Cutler look silly again. Jay needs to make notes for the next time he is mentioned to trade rumors or talks. I want to see Tim start so we finally know what we have and if doesnt work out, then I’m sure we will be right back in the top 5 picks. I also hope Kyle can move on to a team that will use him until he throws that pick that gets in his head that sends him to 4 more and loses that game, and maybe it will be a play-off game. Luckly for Denver it only happened in the regular season more than once.

    Orton is great until that first pick of the game.

  43. Sounds like we just signed Matt Moore. I say, roll with that, drop the Orton trade, and work on Zack Miller and possibly Dahl for the O-line

  44. How stupid are the Broncos?
    Kyle Orton is by far a better QB then Tebow.
    I understand Denver wants to see what they have in Tebow, but he is not a pocket passer. Now that I think about it, maybe they aren’t so stupid. If they want Andrew Luck next year, go with Tebow.

  45. @bangyourhead4
    Why does Tebow HAVE to be a pocket passer? If I recall that’s what the Cardinals tried to make Plummer into, then he came to Denver, was able to roll out and make plays.
    Tebow has been working on a lot of stuff in the offseason. He deserves a shot, and we need to see what he can do.
    Tebow time!

  46. If you are not happy with your QB (Henne) bring in someone you know is better. Not someone to compete with him for the job. If its a competition aren’t they essentially “just as good as the other?” Hence if the new guy (Orton) wins the job, Miami does not believe it is a significant upgrade.

    Don’t bring in a guy who MIGHT be better, bring in a guy you BELIEVE is better. Otherwise your upgrade is only temporary and not enough to matter. So stick with what you have until you can make a real difference.

    (Though in my mind Orton is better)

  47. I used to like the Dolphins but they are absolutely obsessed with sucking! Kyle Orton is the best quarterback available right now. The Dolphins do not have a real quarterback.

    What on earth is so complicated about all this?

  48. Orton & Brady Quinn are outplaying Tebow. Just trade him to the Jags instead…

  49. Kyle Orton, at his best, is a little better than what Henne has shown in his younger career. Don’t commit draft picks and a huge contract for that.

  50. Since when did Miami become such cheapskates? Is it me or are they become the Bengals of the AFC East when it comes to paying their athletes?

  51. Why does Tebow HAVE to be a pocket passer? If I recall that’s what the Cardinals tried to make Plummer into, then he came to Denver, was able to roll out and make plays.
    Tebow has been working on a lot of stuff in the offseason. He deserves a shot, and we need to see what he can do.
    Tebow time!


    One problem here. Tebow is far from being able to show you what he has got. He needs another year of holding the clip board and getting his mechanics down. He has so many bad habits that it isn’t even funny and couldn’t hit a lake if its over 15yds away.

    If you really want to give Tebow the best chance to succeed you won’t throw him into a new offense and make him correct all his mistakes on the fly while 260lb men are chasing him all over the field.

    The compensation you will get for Orton won’t compare to the value he will bring for one year of his service and development time he brings to Tebow.

    Rodgers wasn’t ready to take the reigns in Green Bay at this point in his career.

  52. Orton is a very good QB.

    Defense ranking: 32
    Allowed points: 29.4

    Offense ranking: 19
    Offense scoring: 21.5

    (Our offense was inconsistent, was not great but was not terrible either)

    I may be going off on a limb here *extreme sarcasm*
    But when your defense avgs giving up more points a game then only 1 offense scores (NE at 32.7)

    1) you need to be looking at the defense because they are causing your losses
    2) You wont ever have a winning record
    2) The QB is not the problem but will always look bad because of the situation he’s forced to be in every single game.

    He had bad 4th quarter numbers. So??
    I’m pretty sure if Manning or Brady were playing catch-up EVERY single game, their numbers would not look very good either.

    I like Orton and don’t think we should have gotton Tebow. Not because Tebow is good or bad, but because defense is our problem and should have addressed far more then it has been.

    We have consistently lost games (and given them away)
    They either play great for the first 3 quarters and give it away or they play great for a few games a year.

    Either way, Orton is a very good QB and people need to look at the whole situation he was in when evaluating his numbers and statistics.

    When your defense is ranked 32 (dead last) and is gave up giving up about 40 points more then

  53. To piggy-back on my last post. There isnt a quarter back that would have fared much better in that type of situation. (maybe win 1 or 2 more games possibly? but nothing significant.

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