Kyle Orton is still a member of the Denver Broncos, but there are persistent rumors that he will be a member of the Miami Dolphins by the end of the day Thursday. While it's a mistake for the Broncos to deal Orton, especially with Tim Tebow only having three (mediocre) games under his belt, the Miami front office should be dancing on South Beach if it can pull this deal off.
Miami has been searching for some stability at the quarterback position ever since Dan Marino retired in 1999—Jay Fiedler is probably the closest thing that this franchise has had to a "franchise quarterback" in the years since—and while Orton is not a star, he is a major upgrade over Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen.
Orton did not get anywhere near the credit that he deserved last year with the Broncos. He threw for over 3,600 yards and 20 touchdowns in just 13 games before getting benched in favor of Tebow.
John Fox, taking over as Broncos head coach, has made it known that the starting job is Tebow's to lose, thus making Orton expendable.
Orton should consider himself lucky to be getting away from Denver, because that franchise is a mess right now. It isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and Miami is one or two good players away from being a playoff contender.
Here are five reasons that Orton will be a perfect fit for the Miami Dolphins if and when they make the trade with Denver.
Denver traded star wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami last year. But Kyle Orton had the chance to work with him for the 2009 season, and these two had a great rapport on the field.
Orton had the best season of his career in 2009, throwing for 3,802 yards and 21 touchdowns, and a large reason for that was the presence of Marshall.
Marshall also thrived with Orton throwing him the ball. He caught 101 passes for 1,120 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns in 2009.
It would be naive to think that the Dolphins haven't at least consulted Marshall to get his input on Orton as a quarterback and teammate while trying to make this deal with Denver.
Miami won seven games last season despite having no stability at the quarterback position. The defense has the potential to be even better with a good quarterback because it won't have as much pressure placed on their shoulders.
The Dolphins' record of 6-2 on the road was tied with the Patriots and Jets for the second-best mark in the AFC last season. But their 1-7 home record was the worst in all of football. If they played .500 at home last year, they would have won 10 games and finished one game behind the Jets for the wild card.
Orton can be the difference maker that this team needs to contend in the AFC East for the next few years.
This is more a general statement than anything to do with the Dolphins, but it's still very resonant. Kevin Kolb gets all the headlines because teams are excited about his potential even though he hasn't proven that he can play the quarterback position consistently in the NFL.
Orton, while not exactly a superstar, has two full seasons of quality play under his belt and a third season when he was at least adequate at the position.
When you are trading for a quarterback, you want youth and at least some track record of success. Orton is only 28 and has shown what he is capable of doing during his time with Denver.
Add all of that up and it makes Orton by far the best quarterback available, either via free agency or on the trading block.
When Kyle Orton made his debut in the NFL in 2005 with the Chicago Bears, he was nothing more than just a "game manager." That's the worst possible label that you can give a quarterback because it's basically saying, "Your team is winning without any real help from you."
In the four years since his rookie season, Orton has developed into a solid NFL quarterback, and his numbers get better each year.
Orton's quarterback rating, if you believe in that as a good measure of a quarterback's worth, has increased every season to a career-high 87.5 last season. He has thrown for over 7,400 yards and 41 touchdowns the last two seasons.
Orton is not in the top-tier of quarterbacks in this league, but he is in the group right below that. With a couple more seasons of improvement, he can be a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.
Last year, New England came out of nowhere to win 14 games and cruise to an AFC East title. The Jets, who were considered the favorites when the season started, won 10 games and made it to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
But does anyone really think that the Patriots are going to win 14 games again? Have they really improved that much this offseason that they have separated themselves from everyone else?
The Jets, depending on what happens with Nnamdi Asomugha, are not exactly a dominant force in the regular season.
If Miami acquires a quarterback like Orton, who is better than Mark Sanchez, there's no reason to think that it can't hang with the Patriots and Jets in this division. I am not saying that the Dolphins will win it, but they can make it a true three-team race.