According to a wide variety of reports, the Kansas City Chiefs have acquired Kyle Orton off the waiver wire. He was waived by the Denver Broncos on Tuesday and the Chiefs were reportedly one of three teams to put a claim in on him, along with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.
There are tons of questions with a big move like this. First and foremost, Orton is in the final year of his contract so this is, essentially, a six-game rental at this point. The Chiefs are not committed to him beyond the 2011 season so this doesn't necessarily mean anything about Matt Cassel's future in KC. (Or maybe it does. We just don't know right now.)
Lots to talk about. Here are six takes on it starting with...
So is this a good move or a bad move? I think it's a good one and I say that because there's no real down side for the Chiefs. What's there to lose? They have more than enough cap room, Orton is in the final year of his contract, which means they're not committed to him beyond the next six weeks, and he's an upgrade over Tyler Palko. It's not so much that I think Orton will come in and dominate. It's that he's a better option than what the Chiefs currently have. For that alone, I think this move is worth it. That said, let's be realistic about the situation -- the Chiefs are two games out with six to play and the team as a whole has hardly been consistent. Orton may not change much. (Or he might. Super Bowl?)
Will Orton show up? ESPN's John Clayton reported on Wednesday that Orton is apparently trying to get the word out that he doesn't want to play for the Chiefs. His preferred destination was reportedly the Bears. Clayton wondered whether Orton would report to the Chiefs but it doesn't really matter what Orton wants. As Pro Football Talk explains here, his options are to play for the Chiefs and get paid or not play at all and don't get paid. Let's also keep in mind that we've only heard reports that Orton doesn't want to show up -- we haven't heard him say that.
When does he start? That's the first question, right? The Chiefs have Matt Cassel on IR so Tyler Palko is starting and Ricky Stanzi is backing him up. Presumably the Chiefs don't bring someone like Orton in during Week 12 and let him sit on the bench. It's Wednesday and we don't know when Orton will report or how much of the Chiefs offense he can learn in four days so I think it's too early to predict whether he starts on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If it's not this week, then his debut could be...at Chicago, his former team, on December 4th.
The Chiefs think they still have a shot. Many fans and media have counted the Chiefs out. With three straight losses, a 4-6 record and two games behind the Oakland Raiders, that's not a bad bet. That said, this move shows that Todd Haley believes what he's been saying this week -- that the Chiefs still have a shot. The AFC West is bad but the odds are still against the Chiefs in making a comeback considering their play as of late and the schedule's final six games. They're hoping Orton becomes the spark that leads them to more victories than losses down the stretch.
Chiefs could get draft help for Orton. Orton's contract is scheduled to run out this season so if he leaves KC and signs elsewhere next year, the Chiefs could be in line for a compensatory pick. Granted, it's not likely to be a high one but it's not a bad bonus to potentially pull in a late round pick in exchange for Orton.
Another way this helps the Chiefs. They play Chicago on Dec. 4th and it was widely reported that Orton wanted to return to Chicago so this move, in theory, strengthens the Chiefs and weakens their opponent a week and a half from now.