|Orton started three games for Kansas City in 2011 and could return in 2012. (Getty Images)|
Eye on Football staff report
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kyle Orton began the 2011 season as the Broncos starting quarterback. That lasted five weeks, by which point Denver was 1-4, and Orton was replaced with Tim Tebow. Seven wins later, the Broncos were AFC West champions and beat the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Orton wasn't around to enjoy it because he was released in late November. He signed with the Chiefs and started started three games there.
Now a free agent, Orton ranked seventh in Eye on Football's list of available quarterbacks, which either speaks well to his skills or tells you the current state of backup QBs in the NFL. Either way, Orton is just a season removed throwing for more than 3,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Like wideout Brandon Lloyd (also no longer in Denver), Orton flourished in Josh McDaniels' offense.
And he proved more than adequate in Kansas City, too. Matt Cassel missed part of the 2011 season with a hand injury but is set to be the starter heading into training camp. But with the Tyler Palko experiment blowing up in their faces, the Chiefs are in the market for a backup and Orton impressed during his short time with the team.
At the combine Friday, general manager Scott Pioli spoke about the possibility Orton could return.
“We’ve talked to Kyle’s people. It sounds like Kyle would like to be with us," he said. "We’ve told Kyle we’d like to continue to work with him. Now it’s just a matter of seeing if things arrive at the right place. It’s not always whether we want a player or the player wants to be here. Things have to work out (contractually).”
Looking around the league, Orton's best shot at starting might be in Kansas City. Yes, Cassel tops the depth chart but is there really that much difference between the two (And maybe there is; we never thought Orton would play so poorly in Denver that he'd be benched for Tebow.)
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