Lockout keeps Orton tied to Denver

There is likely no player in the AFC West who is being affected by the extensive lockout more than Denver quarterback Kyle Orton.

That’s why this week has to be so frustrating for everyone involved. If the labor dispute had been resolved, Orton likely would have been traded by now or be traded during the draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday. Denver was reportedly seeking a second-round pick for Orton. Publicly, Denver’s brass has said it hadn’t decided whether to trade Orton and that he and second-year quarterback Tim Tebow are both in the picture. But in league circles, it was expected that Orton would be dealt.

However, because of the lockout, Orton cannot be traded and he remains in limbo.

This could mean Orton will stay in Denver in 2011. If the lockout extends into training camp or beyond, Denver may feel more comfortable with Orton than Tebow because of his experience and Tebow’s lack of extensive time working with the first-team offense.

Also, it will be more difficult finding a trade partner after the lockout. There could be seven quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds of the draft. That would take away a lot of jobs. If a team takes a player such as Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick or TCU’s Andy Dalton in the second round, it probably wouldn’t invest in Orton.

Once the lockout ends, other veterans such as Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb and Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer could be on the market as well, so there will be competition in a decreased market. The fact that the draft will come and go with Orton unavailable could ultimately result in him staying in Denver.