Denver Gets Security in Shrewd Orton Signing
Signing Kyle Orton through 2011 was a really, really smart thing to do for the Denver Broncos. Josh McDaniels ,and the Denver front office, are impressing me more and more with each move they make this year. I am not so sure it was the smartest thing for Kyle though, but I’ll get to Kyle’s missed opportunity later.
A Top Veteran Not Going to Free Agency
In signing Orton to a one year contract, Denver secured what would likely be the top Free Agent QB for 2011, and allow for the future, Tim Tebow, to be developed as how they see fit. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a quality veteran backup on any given NFL roster. So if Denver decides to start Tebow, and he is either injured or doesn’t play well, Denver knows that their backup is fully capable of leading the team for an entire season if need be. If Denver didn’t sign Kyle Orton, and let him go to another team in free agency, the other options would not be pretty. Tom Brady, Peyotn Manning, and Brett Favre are all technically scheduled to be free agents in 2011. Manning will be locked up by Week 1 and Favre will retire for good after this season. Unless Tom Brady gets ticked off enough, he will be back with the Patriots next year. In the unlikely event that Brady would be available and Denver magically was able to sign him, it was still a good idea to have a very good vet backup a HOF QB. Matt Moore showed promise last year, but he has yet to play an entire season as a starter. Kyle knows the offense, runs it extremely efficient, and is a leader in the locker room. You won’t find that with any other QB in 2011.
Below is a list of the likely free agents. It is not even close that Kyle Orton is the best option above these QBs.
2011 Free Agent Veteran QBs
Troy Smith, BAL
Trent Edwards, BUF
JT O'Sullivan, CIN
Seneca Wallace, CLE
Shaun Hill, DET
Brodie Croyle, KC
Chad Pennington, MIA
Tyler Thigpen, MIA
Tarvaris Jackson, MIN
Jim Sorgi, NYG
Kellen Clemens, NYJ
Bruce Gradkowski, OAK
Michael Vick, PHI
Dennis Dixon, PIT
Billy Volek, SD
Kerry Collins, TEN
Chris Simms, TEN
Rex Grossman, WAS
Brady Quinn is Not an Option
The poor performance of Quinn did not instill confidence in anybody. Even though I like Quinn’s attitude he is clearly a rattled QB from his Cleveland days, and may not even make the 53 man roster if Tebow continues his development in the Pre-Season allowing Denver to carry only two QBs. Though, I think the rush to lock up Orton was 95% decided by Denver prior to last Saturday’s exhibition game. After Quinn’s poor showing Orton’s solid performance against Cincy just reconfirmed what Denver was planning on doing all along.
Bang for Buck
I have seen plenty of comments on other sites and blogs saying that Orton is not worth that kind of money. Actually an average starting quarterback in the NFL goes much higher than what Denver has committed to Orton. In fact Denver stole from Orton’s agent. If you look at the money paid to other veteran QBs that had similar numbers and success to Orton it is not even close to what a good deal Denver negotiated. The contract is actually very shrewd from Denver’s side.
Comparable QBs (statistically) in 2009
Yards - Orton ( 11th ) – E. Manning (10th), Cutler (13th), Campbell (14th), Garrard (16th ), Palmer (18th)
TDs – Orton (15th) -- E. Manning (8th), Cutler (8th), Campbell (18th), Garrard (22nd ), Palmer (15th)
INTs -- Orton (13th) -- E. Manning (19th), Cutler (32nd ), Campbell (23rd ), Garrard (8th ), Palmer (17th)
Pass Rating -- Orton (14th) -- E. Manning (11th), Cutler (21st ), Campbell (16th), Garrard (17th ), Palmer (16th)
Comparable QBs, 2009 Record, and Their Contracts
Carson Palmer (10-6) Signed 2005= 6 years, $118 M, Average Salary $10M- $14M per year + $25M Guaranteed
Eli Manning (8-8) Signed 2007= 6 years, $97 M, Average Salary $15.3M per year + $35M Guaranteed
David Garrard (7-9) Signed 2008 = 6 years, $60 M, Average Salary $9.3M per year + $18M Guaranteed
Jay Cutler (7-9) Signed 2008 = 5 years, $50 M, Average Salary $15M per year + $20M Guaranteed
Carson Palmer and David Gerrard are the closest in terms of performance to Kyle Orton’s yet Orton is essentially costing Denver half the price. Palmer is scheduled to make about $12 million in base salary in 2011. Orton is only guaranteed $5.5 million with another $3 million in incentives. Not too bad for Pat Bowlen’s pocketbook. Something also to onte is that only one of the QBs above had a winning record. Denver went 8-8. So it's obvious that the market for QBs is not predicated directly to wins. Allo that is need is one good season. Orton has already led one team a game short of playoffs in 2008, and provided good numbers in 2009.
Orton’s Agent Should Be Fired
Maybe it comes down to how much Orton’s agents felt he was worth, and what the upcoming 2011 possible missguided view of the lockout looming overhead, but Orton was about to become the big QB signing for next year’s offseason. This was afterall an extension into 2011 and not a brand new deal paying Orton more in 2010. In a best case scenario Orton leads Denver to the playoffs and the market would that paid Matt Cassel and David Garrad $60 million Dollar long term deals would be waiting. Even if Orton were to lose the starting role to Tim Tebow in mid season he still would have been the most sought after veteran on the market which gives Orton leverage to find the best deal. A signing bonus of $10 million would not have been out of the question because Orton would be able to get into a bidding war. Any way you slice it (shy of a career ending njury in 2010) Orton's agent cost him a minimum of $5 million for 2011 and maybe as much as $40 Million Long term and $20 Milion gauranteed.
The Lockout Doesn't Matter
Some people may point out that this has something to do with the lockout. I don't see how it does. If you aren't going to pay Orton in 2011 than the extension is meaningless. The only way the 2011 lockout would effect the contract is if Denver had truly felt that they were not going to have Tebow start in 2012, and wanted to commit long term to Kyle. I think everyone knows Denver was not going to commit to Orton long term (5 years or more) because they Drafted Tim Tebow, and would want to see Orton perform more than one year. The long term extensions don't happen until the QB had a winning season the previous year for that organization (Manning, Palmer, Gerrard), or lead his previous team with success and became a hot free agent (Cutler, Cassel, Shaub) If Orton did lead the Broncos to a 10-6 or beter record, and Denver made the playoffs in 2010, Orton would be demanding a long term big money deal. This would result in the same scenario for a 2011 lockout (no money paid) and the contract would only be an issue for 2012 and beyond. To sum up my point Denver doesn't have to worry about Orton until 2012 with any contract they were looking to sign either long term, or this short term extension. If Denver wanted to let Orton go into Free Agency its a moot point.