Extending Orton’s contract a good move by Broncos for Tebow
The Broncos did the best thing for Tim Tebow’s development yesterday when they signed Kyle Orton to a one-year, $9 million contract extension through the 2011 season.
Orton has proved this summer that he’s light years ahead of both Tebow and Brady Quinn (who is freefalling down the Broncos’ depth chart) in his understanding of Josh McDaniels’ offense. (And why wouldn’t he be? He already has a year in the system.) He gives the Broncos their best chance of winning now and the contract is a reward for his hard work this offseason.
The extension also takes some of the pressure off of Tebow, who is going to need time to develop. Regardless of whether or not you think he’s going to be great or the second coming of Drew Henson, all young quarterbacks need time to learn. Considering he didn’t run a pro style offense at Florida and is still working out the kinks in his throwing motion, Tebow is going to need even more time before he’s ready to start.
By signing Orton the Broncos are basically saying that he’s their starter and that Tebow can take his time. I know many people can’t wait to see the Tebow era take flight in Denver, but putting too much pressure on a young quarterback too early can be death. He already has enough on his shoulders by being a first round pick – why add to it?
McDaniels will surely put together some packages to feature Tebow’s strength as a runner, but as long as Orton is healthy and productive then he’s going to be the starter. Tebow’s time will come – it just won’t be any time soon.
The Broncos’ upcoming contract dilemma with Bailey and Dumervil
Mile Klis of the Denver Post brought up an interesting point recently in regards to Elvis Dumervill and Champ Bailey’s contract situations.
Both players will become free agents at the end of the season and both could command salaries that push north of $10 million per season. If the Broncos give one player a long-term deal, will they be able to do the same with the other?
Dumervil is 26 and coming off a season in which he led the league in sacks with 17. Bailey is 32, but is still playing at a Pro Bowl level, is a fan favorite and recently told the media that he doesn’t plan on hanging ‘em up for at least another five more years.
Generally, teams pay younger players first and legit pass-rushers like Dumervil are hard to come by. But Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks don’t fall off trees either and Bailey hasn’t shown signs of decline.
What is owner Pat Bowlen to do? If he pays both of them market value, he’ll cripple his team’s budget and the Broncos probably wouldn’t be able to be major players in free agency next year. If he only pays one of them and allows the other to walk, he’ll have an angry fan base on his hands and worse, he’ll have a huge hole to fill defensively. If he gives one player a long-term deal and franchises the other, he could sabotage his short-term budget.
Even though Dumervil has toed the company line his entire career, this is one of the reasons why the Broncos have chosen to wait to give him a long-term contract. If he plays well this season, then they’ll have a huge decision to make at the end of the year. If he doesn’t play well, they might have an excuse to let him hit the free agent market and then they can invest long-term money in Bailey.
Either way, it doesn’t appear that Bowlen and the Broncos are ready to make a decision, which is why Dumervil still doesn’t have a multi-year deal.
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Broncos being unreasonable with Dumervil
The Broncos are proving that if a player works hard, keeps his mouth shut and produces on the field, that he’ll be…threatened with a pay cut.
According to the Denver Post, the Broncos recently sent a letter to linebacker Elvis Dumervil threatening him that if he doesn’t sign his tender by June 15, then they’ll exercise their right to reduce his 2010 salary.
Keep in mind that Dumervil is the player that led the NFL in sacks last season with 17. He’s also the one that didn’t complain when Denver demanded that he switch positions after it hired Mike Nolan and implemented the 3-4 defense.
Albert Haynesworth hasn’t shown up to one of the Redskins’ workouts (voluntary or mandatory) because he doesn’t want to play in the 3-4, yet Dumervil not only doesn’t complain about the switch, but also excels in his new position and the Broncos are threatening to reduce his pay. What a joke.
Granted, players like Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have burned Denver the past two years by taking a hard stance with the team in order to get what they want. But Dumervil has been the exact opposite of difficult this entire time. And even though the warning might just be a formality, it was in poor taste by a Broncos organization that has been heavily criticized for some of the personnel decisions its made since Josh McDaniels arrived.
The NFL is a business and it’ll always be that way. But there are few players that toe the company line without bitching about their contracts and Dumervil is one of them. He deserves a new contract – not a warning about a pay reduction.
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Orton on the trading block? Broncos say no.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Broncos are denying that quarterback Kyle Orton has ever been on the trading block.
Broncos official texted on report Denver had shopped QB Kyle Orton: “Kyle Orton Has NEVER been available or discussed. Ever! Period.”
The Broncos aren’t going to risk upsetting Orton by making it public that he’s on the trading block. Because if they do have intentions of trading him and a deal never goes through, then their starting quarterback will go through the entire season knowing that his team wanted to deal him in the offseason.
The Broncos find themselves in a tricky situation. Orton’s contract expires at the end of the year and with three developmental quarterbacks (Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow and Tom Brandstater) behind him on the depth chart, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Broncos to try to get something for the veteran QB now before he bolts at the end of the year.
Then again, the Broncos need to go with the quarterback that they believe gives them the best chance to win now. With a year of Josh McDaniels’ offensive system already under his belt, that player is Orton – not Quinn or anyone else. Will Orton get Denver to the Super Bowl this year? Probably not, but he’ll likely perform better than any other quarterback on the roster and therefore, it might not be worth it for the Broncos to trade him for a mid-round pick. (I’m just speculating what they would get for him, but it would most likely be a mid-to-late rounder.)
That said, if Quinn turns in a great training camp/preseason and proves that he can be a capable starter, then the Broncos would obviously be more apt to trade Orton before the season. It makes no sense to have two capable starters on the roster when one of them will surely be moving on in a year. Might as well get something in return for him now.
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Is Tim Tebow the next John Elway?
Denver Post columnist Woody Paige walked the line of comparing Broncos’ rookie quarterback Tim Tebow to legend John Elway in one of his recent articles, including this one:
“Elway could be Joe Namath with good knees, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He won’t be reserved a spot in the Hall of Fame just yet, but just wait.”
Critics charged then that Elway would not become a great pro quarterback, was a loser and an inaccurate thrower in college and wasn’t worth the money ($5 million over five years) or the waste of draft picks. His controversial stand, his hairstyle and even his teeth were disparaged, and it was said he couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t start in the league for several years.
The spectacle lasted for 16 seasons.
And this one:
When Elway reported for rookie camp in July, his every movement — well, almost every movement — was chronicled. “Media Stalk Each Of Elway’s Steps.” More press than players attended workouts in Greeley. Dan Reeves bubbled about Elway, calling him the best young quarterback he had ever seen. Elway, Reeves said, had the star-quality personality — an, if you will, “it” factor. One day at a country club “Ben Hogan walked in. Nobody had to tell us he was Hogan. Elway has the same thing, that charisma. I felt it the first time I ever saw him.”
Reeves said Elway could play right away (although the Broncos had a veteran incumbent). Elway started the opening game.
“Boy Scout Will Lead,” a headline declared.
Hmm. Any of that sound familiar?
It’s remarkable that people either love or hate Tebow (the football player – not the person). Listening to the way people talk about him, one would think that he’s either Hall of Fame bound or that he won’t even be able to tie his shoes before games. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between with him.
I’ve maintained all along that I thought it was stupid to trade three picks for Tebow in last month’s draft and I won’t sway from that opinion. I think he’s a massive project and I don’t see him getting many meaningful snaps under center this year unless the Broncos grow impatient. To think he’s going to start this year as a rookie seems far-fetched, especially if Denver doesn’t wind up trading Kyle Orton at some point before the season. But I’ve been wrong before (many times) and I’ll be wrong again, so who knows.
In terms of Tebow becoming the next Elway……………uh……………
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