I have to admit that this is a move that makes no sense to me. Yet I also admit that I’m limited in my own knowledge and perspective and haven’t earned the right to sit in any general manager’s chair. That said, the Kansas City Chiefs’ claim of former Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton makes absolutely no sense to me — not because he’s not a better option than what the Chiefs have in house. Rather it’s the timing of it all that’s baffling.
In July, Kyle Orton was very available in a trade, and the Miami Dolphins had a deal that reportedly fell apart. In mid-October, Orton was dangled to league execs across the NFL for a song — a reported 7th round conditional draft choice. In other words, Orton could have been had for a bag of balls. No one moved, not even the Chiefs. Every single one of the teams that were interested today in Orton could have added him weeks ago, creating much needed depth at a position of need, but now it’s too late. Except for the Chiefs.
But I also believe it’s too late even for the Chiefs. That’s not a death knell or pessimistic view as much as it is a reality check. Consider this: if the Chiefs didn’t like what they had at back-up quarterback, they could have added Orton for next to nothing over four weeks ago. That’s four weeks that Orton could have been in-house going over plays. That’s four weeks that Orton would have been around his new teammates. That’s four weeks that he would have even provided competition and support for Matt Cassel. And now that Cassel is out for the season, it would have provided a seamless transition to the obvious next starter.
Scott Pioli has been sitting on $30 million all season long, failing to spend it in the off-season and leaving the Chiefs perilously thin in several areas. When the secondary started to suffer injuries, suddenly the Chiefs are playing Sabby Piscitelli and Donald Washington in situations that matter. The offensive line didn’t work last season on the outside, but somehow the Chiefs have the same tackles for yet another season. And now the Chiefs have been hurting because of the back-up quarterback scenario.
Even if Orton comes in on time, is he going to be ready to face the Steelers on Sunday night? Perhaps he can, but it’s also possible the team will have to roll with Palko for one more week before Orton is up to speed. None of these questions would have even been asked if the Chiefs would have had a vision for getting Orton in the first place. Back then, the Chiefs were in first place. In a sport where every single game counts so much, chances cannot be taken where a team stalls for two weeks while sorting out their quarterback scenario.
The bottom line is that to strike on Orton now makes no sense if you weren’t willing to strike on Orton then. It’s the difference between 7-9 and 9-7 and if you think that two game swing isn’t a big deal, wait until you see what will likely be the winning record in the AFC West this year. The timing of this Orton acquisition seems incredibly odd, and here’s hoping it won’t be a case of too little, too late.