Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Five-time MVP Peyton Manning is clearly not a question mark for the Broncos after throwing for 55 touchdowns in 2013. However, the depth behind him is a bit shaky.
Rookie Bryn Renner, sophomore Zac Dysert and third-year quarterback Brock Osweiler are the candidates for the backup quarterback job. All three have limited experience.
Osweiler has put up decent numbers as a backup, posting a fairly average 84.1 passer rating and spectacular 68.8 completion percentage in 2013. However, he also led the Broncos to a mere three points against the Oakland Raiders in the second half of Denver’s Week 17 game. According to The Denver Post, he's done a solid job during training camp, but he's also struggled a bit during other offseason activities.
He has little experience, while free-agent veterans like Kyle Orton have ample experience.
Sure, Orton struggled a bit as a starter in Denver. He was the starting quarterback for most of Denver’s 4-12 year in 2010, but he’s still a capable backup. He posted an 87.5 passer rating in 2010, which would be phenomenal for a backup. Signing him on the cheap could come in handy for Denver, which, according to OverTheCap.com, still has a bit of money to play with.
Orton would be able to pick up the playbook quickly from experience playing with John Fox in 2011, and he would likely be intrigued by playing for a championship contender.
The Broncos want to develop Osweiler, but they need to prioritize winning now. At this point, Orton or another qualified backup (such as Kevin Kolb) would give them a better chance to win than Osweiler would.
If Manning suffers a short-term injury, Orton could step in and help the team remain in contention. It might be worth giving him a chance if the Broncos don’t feel confident in Osweiler’s development during training camp.