|Tebow may not be the future in Denver, but he's definitely the present. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Kyle Orton lost the Broncos starting job after a 1-4 start. Now, he's out of work altogether. The team released Orton executive vice president John Elway announced Tuesday, according to the Denver Post.
|The Tebow era officially begins...|
Orton arrived in Denver prior to the 2009 season as part of the trade that sent Jay Cutler to Chicago. In his first two years, he threw for almost 7,500 yards and had 41 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. And even though then-coach Josh McDaniels used a first-round pick on Tim Tebow in 2010, Orton entered the 2011 season as the unquestioned starter.
Five weeks later, that all changed after Orton played himself out of the job. Enter Tim Tebow who, based on his preseason performance, was fully expected to fail. Instead, head coach John Fox refashioned the offense to highlight Tebow's strengths -- namely, running -- and now the Broncos are a read-option dynamo and just one game back of the Raiders in the AFC West.
Tebow's surprising success also made Orton, who is in the last year of his contract, expendable. According to Broncos executive John Elway, there's no guarantee that the long-term gig is Tebow's, but it wasn't going to be Orton's either.
Here's what John Fox and Elway had to say about Orton in statements released by the team.
Fox: "I spoke with Kyle earlier today and thanked him for everything he did for the Broncos. He was a true professional throughout this season. I’ve got a great deal of respect for him as both a player and as a person.
"This was the right decision for our football team. We feel good about our quarterback group, and this gives Kyle an opportunity to help another team and showcase his talents.
“I wish Kyle and his family all the best going forward.”
Elway: “I would like to thank Kyle for all his work with the Denver Broncos. In the three years that he’s been here, he’s been an absolute pro. We thought it was best for the Broncos at this time as well as for Kyle to catch on with a different team.
“Kyle is going to have more options in the NFL. He’ll get an opportunity to play somewhere else, and we wish him the best of luck.”
So now what? Well, Denver will ride the running game as far as it takes them. And Orton's services, no doubt, will be in high demand.
Chicago, the team that drafted him in 2005, just lost Jay Cutler, possibly for the rest of the regular season.
The Post reports that Orton and his agent David Dunn began talking with the Broncos about his release when it was learned that Cutler suffered a broken thumb and might miss 6-8 weeks. Orton declined comment.
Other possibilities: the Chiefs, which have to be in the market after watching Tyler Palko throw three interceptions against the Patriots Monday night (Kansas City placed Matt Cassel on injured reserve earlier this week). And depending on what happens with Matt Leinart and the Texans, Houston could be looking for a quarterback, too.
For now, Tebow is the man in Denver. And it's only a matter of time before Orton is the man … somewhere else.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.