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Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton And The Possible Quarterback Predicament In Denver

If Orton is being shopped, Tebow has won over more than just Josh McDaniels in his short pro career.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow  attends the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow attends the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA)
Getty Images for GMA

It seems that Tim Tebow wasn't simply Josh McDaniels' pet project after all.

Everyone remembers the firestorm of controversy surrounding the pro potential of the former Florida quarterback. I went to cover the NFL Combine in 2010 when Tebow was drafted and the media swarmed like no other player, coach or general manager when his name was announced for his press conference. Afterwards, arguments ensued about whether or not Tebow could even play in the NFL and, if so, what position he would have to switch to. The majority of opinions, it seemed, were against Tebow's ability to become a legitimate NFL starting quarterback.

When McDaniels bit in the first round at No. 25, it was seen as an offensive mind choosing his primary war horse -- a mentor and student who combined could make all of the naysayers shut up. But that was never to be since McDaniels shot himself in the foot time and time again. Before Tebow could even get a grip on the starting football, McDaniels was already out of town. With his exit, most assumed the Broncos under new head coach John Fox would simply go a different direction, and no one could blame a new head coach for wanting to wipe the slate clean.

But the reports coming out of Denver are that Kyle Orton is looking at the back-up job -- and maybe not even that. The former starter for the Broncos is due a hefty paycheck this season at $9 million, which is obviously too much for someone holding a clipboard -- even in a tenuous starting situation like Denver's. The word is that Denver is looking to shop Orton for a draft pick, and the price isn't that high apparently -- with reports that only a mid-round choice would get it done. That makes Orton the best quarterback for the market for the cost it would take.

That also leaves Denver very thin at the game's most important position. This is a quarterback's league, where a guy like Matt Cassel can sneak into the Pro Bowl and still have a significant portion of his fan base wondering if he's the long-term answer in Kansas City. Denver is significantly rebuilding its defense, and the addition of Von Miller alongside the returning Elvis Dumervil should make the team much more competitive already. But Denver is going to have to score some points, and leaving that on Tebow's shoulders alone is simply a bigger unknown than some situations that have rookie quarterbacks at the helm. Simply put, the jury is still out on Tebow.

It's not fair to say that Denver is in a bad situation, but it's also not wise to assume they would be okay without Orton. If Denver wants to trade Orton, then the team would be wise to bring in a capable but cheaper back-up. The best case scenario would be for Orton to agree to a new contract to stay in Denver, have a solid chance of winning back the starting job and leverage it for a few more years on a cap-friendly contract this season.

As for Tebow, he has to be smiling bright if these reports are true -- that the Broncos as an organization believe in him no matter who is in charge. That's a good sign for Tebow's future success if he's winning over more than just McDaniels.