Will Wide Receiver Greg Orton Break out for the Denver Broncos?

Jon HeathContributor IApril 5, 2013

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26:  Wide receiver Greg Orton #89 of the Denver Broncos in action during a pre-season game against the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on August 26, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The 49ers defeated the Broncos, 29-24.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

On Thursday, ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio assessed a potentially sticky situation for the Denver Broncos that we've already touched on: "Soon, the Broncos may have to choose between (Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker)."

Decker will become a free agent in 2014 and Thomas will be a free agent the following offseason.  As Florio notes, if the Broncos give Decker an extension before his contract runs out, Thomas will have to wait two years before being paid comparably to Decker.

Such a scenario could cause problems.  Denver could either (a) let Decker walk in free agency to avoid drama and save cap space to give Thomas a big deal down the road or (b) gamble on having the cap room to re-sign both by dealing with their contracts when they run out.

As of now, Denver isn't worrying about contract negotiations with either player.  But the Broncos will have to soon.

If one of the two leaves Denver, who would step up?  Over at the team's official site, Andrew Mason reviewed the team's wide receiver corps, pointing out one player as a potential sleeper to watch:

(After Thomas, Decker and Wes Welker), the only backup receiver with extensive offensive experience is Andre Caldwell, who caught 124 passes in four Bengals seasons but had just one last year and played just 75 snaps. Another year in the offense will help, but he could face a challenge in Greg Orton, who spent the season on the practice squad, and Gerell Robinson, back on the roster after time on Arizona's practice squad.

Orton is a 6'3", 205-pound, 26-year-old receiver who is technically considered a "first year player."

As Mason notes, Greg Orton has spent 21 total games on Denver's practice squad since 2011, which may signify that the team has been especially intrigued by him.  Orton entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009; however, he has spent most of his career on arena football teams.

He was electrifying with the Spokane Shock, catching 112 passes for 1,601 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2011.  According to Mason, it usually takes arena players about a year to adjust when jumping from indoors to the pros, which could mean Orton is primed to breakout.

At the very least, Orton will be a receiver to watch for in training camp.  With an impressive summer performance, Orton could secure an active roster spot in 2013.

From there, who knows what Orton could do.  With Peyton Manning at the helm, it wouldn't hurt to find out.