NFL Free Agency: Miami Dolphins End Kyle Orton Talks, Sign Matt Moore

Mark David SmithCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2011

ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 31: Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers passes against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 31, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Panthers 20-10.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Dolphins' trade negotiations with Denver to acquire Kyle Orton have cooled off, possibly for good. Miami is going in a different direction, agreeing to a two-year deal with Panthers quarterback Matt Moore, ESPN's John Clayton reported.

More QB news: NFL Network's Albert Breer reported early Friday that Vince Young has reached an agreement with Philadelphia, a deal he'll sign later Friday.

There goes Miami's second option.

The Dolphins were expected to pursue Young to become a potential competitor for the starting job in Miami.

This Orton deal needs to happen, somehow.

There aren't really any other legitimate, starter-quality QBs on the free agent or trade markets. Marc Bulger, Trent Edwards, David Carr and others of similar talents wouldn't be real competition for Chad Henne's hold on the starting position in Miami.

Moore does have potential, but he and Orton are not of equal abilities. Not even close.

Not only does this new signing discourage the trade, but Orton performed much better than Tim Tebow, his presumed successor in Denver, in Thursday's practice. Denver might decide against parting with the veteran QB this offseason.

Miami is refusing to meet Denver's trade demands of at least one early draft pick, instead offering a couple late-round selections, sources said.

The Broncos are over the salary cap, and Orton's $8.8 million 2011 salary is an awful lot for a team strapped for cash. Denver has until Aug. 4 to make cuts or trades to get back under the cap. Orton has long been speculated by most to be cut, if not traded, due to his high price tag.

This means that even if Denver doesn't accept Miami's current trade offer, the possibility of acquiring Orton is still alive for the Dolphins.

Unless the Broncos have a sudden change of heart and keep Orton as starter, Denver will probably become more desperate to trade Orton before they're forced to release him next Thursday. Miami could trade for him then or let Orton hit the free agency waters before trying to sign him.

Miami doesn't really need Matt Moore. They need a quarterback to challenge or succeed Henne, and I really don't think Moore has reached that point yet. I don't see Moore as much more than a capable backup for Henne.

The pool of qualified free agent or shopped QBs has quickly dissolved to leave only one player left: Kyle Orton. Miami is calling Denver's bluff; hopefully this time next week I'll have an article written on the details of Orton's new deal in Miami.