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Bill Polian: Trade-deadline change would've meant Colts offer third-rounder for Kyle Orton

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Polian's what-if-trade-deadline interest in Orton is confusing. (Getty Images)

At the owners annual spring meetings in Atlanta, the decision was made to move the NFL trade deadline back to Week 8 instead of Week 6. This is a step in the right direction, assuming the ultimate goal is to make the NFL's trade deadline more useful for teams and more interesting for fans.

Something further back (say, Week 12?) would make more sense from the perspective of allowing teams to tip-toe the line between contender and pretender. But two weeks will make a difference going forward and apparently would've made a difference last year too -- Bill Polian told Peter King of Sports Illustrated that the Colts would've made a play for Kyle Orton last season if the trade deadline had been in Week 8.

"I think the deadline being moved last year would have made a difference for us,'' Polian said. "We would have rekindled our interest in Orton. In Week 6, we knew our quarterback situation wasn't great, but after a couple more weeks, we realized the situation was bad. We probably would have called Denver, who'd gone to [Tim] Tebow by then, and said, 'Hey, we'll give you a three [a third-round draft choice] for Orton.' ''

That's an interesting hypothetical, and it's the sort of thing that will be different going forward: teams will be more willing to gamble on acquiring later in the year as the standings shape up, and teams will also be more willing to move players for picks later in the season. (No one wants to root for a team that's hemorrhaging talent late in the year, but getting prospects and draft picks in return are a nice bonus.)

But there's a lot about Polian's specific scenario that makes zero sense. For one, why would the Colts at 0-7 be more willing to give up a third-round pick for a guy like Orton than they would at 0-5? If anything, it makes less sense for them to throw away a valuable pick on a quarterback like Orton when they're already looking up at the Jaguars, Titans and Texans.

Additionally, if the Colts were so hot for Orton, why didn't they claim him when Denver released him just a few weeks later? Orton ultimately ended up being claimed by Kansas City, less than a month after the Colts put Kerry Collins on injured reserve.

The Colts were, presumably, still trying to win games. If Orton was an upgrade for their quarterback situation in late October, he was certainly an upgrade for their quarterback situation in late November.

Polian believes that Orton would've helped the Colts win a game or two extra down the stretch. The result would've been Indy not likely getting a shot at Andrew Luck, possibly keeping Peyton Manning and perhaps even saving Polian's job.

Which is why it's surprising to read that Polian would've given up a third-round pick for Orton just a few weeks before he could've gotten Orton for free, but didn't.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.
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