As the Kansas City Chiefs survey the free agent market and the quarterbacks available to bring in as competition for Matt Cassel, the starter of the last three seasons, they will see some familiar names and some exciting ones. But it seems the most likely to land in Kansas City are Peyton Manning, Chad Henne and Kyle Orton.
Ryan Van Bibber looked at the quarterbacks available and laid out the destinatations for each, giving KC the chance to land one of the three. While Jason Campbell is also an option, Van Bibber is right on these counts. For Kyle Orton, the most likely of all quarterbacks to sign, he provides the most familiar target for Scott Pioli. Van Bibber writes:
Orton had two good seasons in Denver under Josh McDaniels. Sure, Jay Cutler would have been much better, but Josh McDaniels is smarter than you, just ask him. Since 2009, Orton has completed slightly more than 60 percent of his passes. His 50 touchdowns and 30 interceptions over that same period speak to what kind of player he is: a useful game manager. With a decent supporting cast, Orton can get you by until fortunes improve. The Chiefs sang his praises at the Combine, and it would hardly be a stretch for them to have him compete with Matt Cassel.
As for Manning, he would bring the most respect and hype to the organization, but he would also come with the most health concerns. That said, Cassel is a nice fall-back option in case Manning still has nerve issues come opening weekend. Van Bibber writes:
Manning is not a free agent…yet. He will be by the end of the week. The Colts owe him a $28 million bonus on March 8, and all signs point to them keeping that money and drafting Andrew Luck, as well they should. The big question with Manning is whether or not he can still play like he used to. Nobody knows. Whoever released a grainy cell phone video of Manning throwing at Duke deserves a spot in the viral marketing hall of fame; it was just enough of a teaser to get teams excited with nothing conclusive. If he is healthy, he should have a few years left to help a team, preferably one with well-rounded roster, chase the Lombardi Trophy.
As for Chad Henne, he would be the least sexy pick out there and fans would likely be underwhelmed by the move. But the familiarity with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is hard to ignore:
Henne has value to teams who confuse youth with potential. Maybe, just maybe, some team will take a chance believing that they can detail the mistakes out of him. A reunion with Tony Sparano, now the Jets’ offensive coordinator, has been mentioned as one of the more likely possibilities, solely for the purpose of shaming Mark Sanchez into being a better quarterback. Henne might be acceptable enough for a season or two in an offense that leans on the run. Denver might also come calling, looking for a quarterback to compete with Tim Tebow. Brian Daboll’s new job as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City could lure another middle quarterback to that middling division.
If I were a betting man, my money would be on Kyle Orton for the familiarity factor. Manning is such a wild card in terms of release, money and health that it’s just not a safe bet for any team including the Colts. Henne is not better than Cassel and anyone who believes that is silly.