4 Teams Kyle Orton Can Help in 2011

Ryan LownesFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2011

4 Teams Kyle Orton Can Help in 2011

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    When the Denver Broncos released quarterback Kyle Orton on Tuesday, the move sent shock waves throughout the league and Twitter universe. Never a standout player, through the years, Orton has shown the ability to be an effective spot-starter and backup.

    With this move, John Elway and John Fox made it clear to the rest of the league that they will sticking by Tim Tebow for at least the remainder of the 2011 season. Waiving him now, Denver gives Orton the opportunity to help another team this year.

    So how is the market at the moment for a player such as Orton? It is 10 games into the season, and you would assume any team gearing up for a playoff run is set at the quarterback position.

    Well, with the injury bug claiming more and more starting signal-callers each week, the market is ripe.

    In the following slideshow, I explore four potential destinations for the journeyman quarterback that has 60 starts and a Super Bowl appearance under his belt.

Chicago Bears

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    Perhaps the most likely scenario, Kyle Orton could re-join his former team in the Windy City as early as tomorrow.

    This past Sunday, the surging Bears had the wind knocked out of them when starting quarterback Jay Cutler went down with a season-ending hand injury. It had been a good season for Cutler in Chicago, and as winners of five straight, the team appeared capable of once again contending for a chance to represent the NFC in February's Super Bowl.

    With Caleb Hanie listed next on the depth chart, it is hard to imagine the Bears continuing their improbable run. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz is not overly high on Hanie, and unless the team makes a move, it does not appear as if Chicago has a playoff run in them this year.

    It almost makes too much sense for the Bears not to go after Kyle Orton, a guy that had been a part of the team that went to 2007 Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Chicago, they sit at 30th in the waiver order and may never get the chance to put it an offer to their former quarterback.

    If signed, Orton gives the Chicago Bears a legitimate shot to make and compete in the playoffs this season. 

Indianapolis Colts

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    What is the point, you ask? The Indianapolis Colts are 0-10, and without Peyton Manning, the team is going nowhere this season.

    If there was any question whether the Colts had proper insurance to cover an injury to their star quarterback, they now have an answer. Kerry Collins was unable to keep the team afloat, and Curtis Painter has appeared overwhelmed from his first action of the season.

    Though it is obviously too late to salvage the 2011 season in Indianapolis, claiming Kyle Orton off waivers makes a lot of sense. First and foremost, the Colts finish out this season not looking quite as pathetic as they do now. Next, they secure one of the league's most reliable and battle-tested backup quarterbacks for the future.

    Despite being stuck at the bottom of their division without a shot at the playoffs, do not be surprised if Indianapolis is the team that makes the strongest play for Kyle Orton.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    The race for the AFC West division crown is heating up, as all four teams are within only two games. Last season's winners, the Chiefs, look to be on the outside looking in, however.

    After an 0-3 start which featured injuries to several key players, Kansas City rebounded by winning four in a row. Just as things were looking up for the Chiefs, the injury bug struck again, taking starting quarterback Matt Cassel this time.

    While, at the time, this looked like the end for Todd Haley's squad, signing Kyle Orton could be the move that puts the Chiefs back on the right path. Tyler Palko failed to look like a competent NFL quarterback when Kansas City met the Patriots and their 32nd ranked passing defense on Monday night. 

    There is little doubt that Orton, the former division rival, provides a substantial upgrade over Palko at the position. If the Chiefs act now, they may be able to save their season before it is too late.

Houston Texans

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    Everything was going so well for the Houston Texans. Sure, they had missed Andre Johnson during his long absence, but at 7-3, they were still in the hunt to make a splash in the playoffs. That all changed when quarterback Matt Schaub was lost to injury during the team's blowout victory against Tampa Bay in Week 10.

    Right now, former Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart is penciled in as the team's starting quarterback when the team travels to Jacksonville this weekend. It may be time to panic if you are a Texans fan, as Leinart has not thrown a pass since 2009 and is seen unanimously as draft bust.

    If Houston acts now and claims Orton off waivers, the franchise's first playoff run may not be a complete wash. This is a particularly good situation for the former Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears quarterback, as he would land in an offense with a number of weapons, namely Johnson and running back Arian Foster.

    The Texans would be wise to put in an offer for Orton and start him immediately.