Miami Dolphins & Kyle Orton


The Miami Dolphins need a quarterback with starting experience to compete and challenge Chad Henne.  They also need Chad Henne to become a star.  With names like Vince Young, who would come with mental baggage, Donovan McNabb who would come with dedication issues, and Carson Palmer who would bring his age, the Miami Dolphins may not have a solid solution in front of them.

Unless of course you look towards Kyle Orton in the Mile High City.

Orton is a lights out sure fire star in the NFL.  His time in Chicago was so unspectacular that the Bears traded Orton, a first and third round pick in 2009 and a first rounder in 2010 to the Denver Broncos for Jay Cutler.  Jerry Angelo, the teams GM said that he needed to solidify the Bears QB situation.  Orton, who went from back-up to starter, to third string to starter and then to Denver was out.

Over the course of his career as a starter, Orton is 32-30 and his last two seasons as a starter in Denver has him winning 11 while losing 17.  In other words, Kyle Orton isn’t the starting answer for the Miami Dolphins.  But that doesn’t mean he won’t add value.

Orton has a history with Brandon Marshall and the two seemed to be on the same page most of their time together.  After the Broncos traded Marshall to Miami, Kyle Orton’s production fell as did the Broncos’ offense.  The Broncos, after obtaining Orton from Chicago, felt so sure they had a starter in their grasp they spent a first round pick on Florida standout Tim Tebow.  By the end of last year, Tebow was the starting QB and despite the fact that the team to this day publicly says they will have a competition in camp between Orton, Tebow, and Brady Quinn who they also traded for last year, it’s obvious that Orton has played his last game for the Broncos.

The Broncos have a lot of holes to fill and new HC John Fox wants to get better and deeper at all of his positions.  Orton carries a 9 million dollar cap hit this season so it’s very unlikely, given the Broncos are already over the rumored 120 million dollar 2011 cap that Orton will remain on the team.  Earlier this off-season leading up towards the draft, it was reported that Broncos wanted a second round pick for their QB.  That won’t happen.

Recently it was rumored that they had softened their demands to a 3rd or 4th round pick.  The reality is that Orton carries a big salary and was part of a deal that associated his name with two first round picks and a third.  It’s unlikely that given his past two seasons with the Broncos that his value has climbed to a 4th.  The only value that Orton currently maintains is due to the lack of veteran options available in trade and on the free agent market.

Enter the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins would be smart to offer the Broncos a 5th or later pick and stick to that offer regardless of what the Broncos counter with.  They could throw in a depth player if need be but nothing more in terms of draft picks.  In Miami, Orton would reunite with Marshall, but that is not the reason Miami should bring in the traveling starter.  Experience is.

The Dolphins and GM Jeff Ireland could easily rework Orton’s deal to lower his 2011 base salary and add an additional one or two years to the contract.   Orton would become the insurance policy for Chad Henne and at the same time, should Henne fail in his 2011 campaign and the Dolphins let him leave VIA free agency next year, Orton becomes that bridge QB for the team.

Some may point to the names mentioned earlier, McNabb, Palmer, or Young.  The reality is that Palmer is up in age and his career is winding down.  Trading for Palmer is already allowing yourself to say you are looking for a bridge QB to your next starter and that Henne isn’t it.  In 3 or 4 years, Palmer will be an afterthought in the NFL.  The same can be said about Donovan McNabb who does not want to compete for a starting job.  He wants it.  Period.  Vince Young is the only variable that could play into this.  He is fast, strong, and has won this level.  The issue with Young is that while he may have physically reached his potential, it’s unsure whether or not he has mentally maxed out his ability.

When it comes down to it, Young is free and Orton is not.  But of the two, Orton may be able to provide Miami with something more than Vince Young.  Leadership.  Young for all his talent is still a distraction off and sometimes on the field.  Orton has been a team player since his days in Chicago.  He has felt the uplifting jubilation of being a starter, losing it, regaining it, and the reality of crashing to earth when he realized that he alone would not be enough to sway a trade for Jay Cutler.

In Miami, Orton wouldn’t necessarily be called on to be the star as much as veteran support.  He can play off the bench and start if Henne fails.  He is used to working new systems and does have a repoire with the Dolphins star WR.  He may never be the answer for any team but he may be that solid back-up QB of the future that you can always rely on.  The Earl Morrall’s and Don Strock‘s.  The Dolphins need that as well.

I’m not saying that Kyle Orton is the answer for the Miami Dolphins QB woes, but he could be a solution to the depth of that position in Miami.

Until the Miami Dolphins know what they have in Chad Henne, and they will know by the end of this season, the team needs more than a simple spot fix behind him.  They need someone who will check their ego at the door and play the role that is given to them.  Kyle Orton will challenge Chad Henne to be a better player or he will take Chad Henne’s position and at the end of 2011 Henne will be gone.  The Dolphins will be looking, in all likelihood to the NFL Draft for his replacement.  Kyle Orton would suddenly become a valuable asset in Miami.  In Chicago he was expected to be the starter, in Denver he was expected to be the starter.  In Miami, he should be expected to be the competition.  And if that fails, the role of back-up might be the best option for Kyle Orton, and the Miami Dolphins.