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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Marshall expected to be traded after March 5

The Denver Post reports that the Broncos are expected to trade receiver Brandon Marshall soon after the NFL free agency period opens on March 5.

During the AFC Pro Bowl team’s first practice Wednesday at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Marshall ran a few patterns at top speed, cut sharply on the artificial surface and showed no ill effects from the bum hamstring that brought on a controversial and premature end to his 2009 season.

After the practice, Marshall was pleasant and conversational, until it was time to speak on the record.
“I’m not talking,” he said. “I’ve had enough publicity.”

Marshall was benched by Broncos coach Josh McDaniels the Friday before Denver’s final game of the season, essentially for punitive, not injury-related, reasons.

The roller coaster that is Brandon Marshall’s NFL life continues. The Broncos may have a tough time getting fair compensation for Marshall in a trade after he and head coach Josh McDaniels got into it during the final week of the season. Teams aren’t going to be willing to hand over draft picks knowing that the Broncos want to dump the troubled receiver. And let’s not forget Marshall’s, uh, character quirks.

It’s funny to think back at the start of the season when the Broncos were winning and Marshall went up to hug McDaniels during a post-game presser. Their relationship collapsed quicker than Denver’s season.

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