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

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