NFL Trade Rumors: Is Kyle Orton Legitimate Upgrade over Chad Henne for Dolphins?

Danny DolphinAnalyst IJuly 27, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos runs out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The latest reports have Miami Dolphins in serious negotiations with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Kyle Orton.

While he doesn’t have the flair or splash of a Vince Young, most NFL pundits believe Orton is a clear upgrade over incumbent Chad Henne. Let’s see what story last year’s numbers tell, broken down bullet by bullet.

  • Henne: 75.4 QB RAT, 3,301 YDS, 61.4 CMP%, 15 TD, 19 INT
  • Orton: 87.5 QB RAT, 3,653 YDS, 58.8 CMP%, 20 TD, 9 INT
  • According to Pro Football Focus, an advanced statistics website, Orton was the league’s 16th-best passer, while Henne was 17th.
  • Over the last two seasons, Orton’s TD-INT ratio is 41 to 21 (1.95 to 1), while Henne’s is 27 to 33 (0.8 to 1).
  • While Orton had the lower completion percentage overall (58.8 to Henne’s 61.4), he attempted 23 more passes thrown 21 yards or more, and this was in two fewer games.
  • Of those big play passes, Orton completed 26 of 63 (41 percent), while Henne completed just nine of 40 (23 percent). Here’s a defining stat: On passes thrown 21 yards or more, Orton posted a 99 QB rating, while Henne posted a 43 QB rating.
  • Henne finished with 16 batted passes, while Orton finished with nine (remember, Orton also played in two fewer games). This definitely is indicative of a quarterback’s ability to look off his intended receiver. Henne was tragic at times in this area.
  • It doesn’t get better for Henne in comparing their fourth quarter efficiency; Henne posted a 55.7 QB rating, while Orton posted a superior 87.3 QB rating.

Orton is a superior quarterback by a landslide. Maybe Henne can develop into a quality passer one day, but when you have a chance to acquire a pretty good quarterback in his prime at what should be a modest price, you pull that trigger every time. You transform a maybe into a yes, and that yes gives Miami its best quarterback since Dan Marino.

Orton dominates Henne in two key areas. The first is big-play passes (balls thrown > 21 yards) and the second is in the fourth quarter. That’s enough to justify the Dolphins trading a third-round or maybe even a second-round draft pick for the Broncos quarterback.

Now whether Miami can agree to terms on a contract with Orton to ensure a trade goes down is another discussion entirely. He is currently slotted to make in excess of $8 million next season.

There is one certainty, however: Orton at the helm of the Miami offense absolutely puts the Dolphins in a better position to win.

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