Let’s get things clear: No matter what the Broncos may now say in the aftermath of the flubbed trade attempt, they wanted to trade Orton. They wouldn’t have spent the past three days trying to deal him to Arizona or Miami for their health. They wanted to move the veteran quarterback to clear salary-cap space and they wanted to give Tim Tebow an open highway to see if he can be the future of the franchise.
Now, Denver is at a major crossroads.
Tired of waiting for the road blocks to clear, Miami has acquired Matt Moore and they are reportedly out of the Orton mix. Of course, with Kevin Kolb in the fold, so are the Cardinals. No other team is currently in the market for a starting quarterback. That will only change if a quarterback suffers an injury during the preseason.
So what do the Broncos do? They are stuck with a valuable player they don’t want and their quarterback situation is a complicated mess. Whatever Denver does, it has to make a decision quickly.
Here are the Broncos’ choices: They can cut Orton. They can make him the starter. They can make him the backup to Tebow and wait for someone to get hurt.
Keeping Orton as the starter while waiting for another quarterback to get hurt is tricky because it will stunt Tebow’s development. This is a player who needs all the repetitions he can get in a year in which the lockout took away priceless offseason time from Tebow and his coaches. If Tebow is going to be Denver’s starting quarterback Sept. 12 against Oakland on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football," he needs to work with the first team pronto.
What would starting a quarterback it didn’t want in Orton do for Denver’s long-term progress? This is a team that is rebuilding. Orton won’t be there in 2012, and not finding out what Tebow can do until 2012 would be counterproductive as well.
The Broncos are in a tough spot as a result of the Dolphins’ decision. Denver has to decide what to do and live with it.
UPDATE: NFL.com reports the Dolphins are still interested in Orotn. That would be good news for Denver.