If Not Peyton Manning, Then Who?

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Kyle Orton #8 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass during the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)

The Peyton Manning sweepstakes are winding down (we think) and by many accounts the Kansas City Chiefs are unlikely to be Manning's next home. I'm still holding out hope, too, but realistically Manning is unlikely to be a Chief. (Again, I'm still hoping I'm wrong on that one.)

So, let's assume Manning picks Arizona, Denver or somewhere else. What will the Chiefs quarterback situation look like if Manning isn't involved?

The options are the same as they were a few weeks ago, starting with....

Kyle Orton: Absent Manning, this is probably the best choice. Orton is the free agent quarterback who can likely give Cassel the best competition. We know him. We saw him play. We know he can beat a good team (Green Bay Packers) on a good day. If we're looking for a legitimate competition, I think Orton has to be the pick.

Chad Henne: He's a guy that has connections to Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll so you'll see his name floating around when the free agency rumors really start moving. He fits the profile of a guy with experience who's young enough that you could argue has some potential.

Jason Campbell: Another quarterback in the same mold as Orton and Henne. Both are probably lower-end starters at best, or high-end backups. He has the advantage of knowing the Raiders system.

Matt Flynn: Don't think this is gonna happen. He could field a contract similar to the one Matt Cassel received.

Rookie quarterback: Unless the Chiefs use one of their top two picks on a quarterback -- like Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill or Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden -- I don't see the quarterback competition coming from the draft.

Surprise cut: Some team out there is going to surprise us all by releasing a quarterback. Generally, good quarterbacks don't hit the open market so I wouldn't count on this option.

Tim Tebow: Just kidding.

***

Who else am I missing here? Any other potential options?

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