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Colts Should Make A Claim For Kyle Orton If They Don't Want Andrew Luck

Curtis Painter is the third worst rated quarterback currently starting in the NFL at 67.4. He's one notch better than the immortal Rex Grossman. With 5 TDs, 7 INTs, a 54% competition percentage, and a gaggle of fumbles, the Painter Experiment has been a disaster this season.

Yesterday, for reasons that are still a bit sketchy, the Broncos released their Week One starting quarterback, Kyle Orton. Orton has thrown 49 TDs and 29 INTs the last three years, completing roughly 60% of his passes. Not a flashy player, but a very solid one. Certainly, he's worth the $2.5 million a team would be on the hook for should they claim him off waivers, especially when you consider the Jurassic Kerry Collins got the 'going rate' for a back-up with $4 mill in Indianapolis this year.

Again, Orton was cut by Denver. He must pass through waivers. The team listed No. 1 in the waiver order is the 0-10 Colts. Seems obvious that the Colts will make a claim on Orton. Right?

Mike Florio at PFT thinks Indy should make a claim on Orton, a popular player in the Hoosier state because he played his college ball at Purdue. If the Colts don't put in a claim, Florio thinks they'll look like they are tanking to get the No. 1 overall pick in 2012.

At the top of the stack, what better way to test whether the Colts are in full-blown "Suck for Luck" mode than to see whether they’d bring in a quarterback who is significantly better than Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky?  They’d be crazy not to make a claim.  Unless they’re truly crazy for Andrew Luck.

I think most would agree Orton is an upgrade over Painter and Orlovsky. On the surface, it's obvious the QB position for the Colts is a mess. Orton is intelligent, has physical ability, and has shown a knack for picking up complex offenses quickly. He fills a need position now and for the future.

If you are looking to draft a quarterback in the first round next year, Kyle Orton is a better transition option at QB for a rebuilding team than Peyton Manning. Peyton will be 36 next year, and likely isn't interested in being part of a rebuilding effort at this stage of his career. Also, unlike Peyton, Orton is not hurt. His future playing career is not in jeopardy. So, if the Colts are looking for anything and anyone to help them win a football game, if they are searching to get the best possible players available on this team, signing Orton makes sense both in the short and long term.

Also, should he leave as a free agent in March of 2012, the Colts would be in line for a compensatory draft pick.  Considering how putrid the talent is on this roster, that alone should motivate an Orton claim.

However, if the team's intention is to indeed 'Suck 4 Luck' and hope to grab Stanford's Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick, then signing Orton now could throw a monkey wrench in that.

A front office is either going everything possible to win, or they aren't. There's no in-between. Should the Colts not make a claim for Orton, the perception around the league will continue to build that the Indy front office is tanking the season. By tanking, I don't mean that they are telling players to tackle poorly, or that they are ordering Curtis Painter to regress as a quarterback week-to-week. The perception now is that they are content to ride the season out with the their current roster, which, as their 0-10 record clearly indicates, it devoid of quality talent. Thus, by keeping this crap roster the same, it insures the Colts will finish worst in the league in 2011.

That, in a sense, is tanking.

Again, a front office is either going everything possible to win, or they aren't. A team that's 0-10 should be scrambling to add talented players wherever they can get them. When they don't, when they pass up obvious talent that can help them, it raises eyebrows.

So, yeah. If the Polians want to avoid looking like they are tanking 2011, they should make a claim for Orton. If they don't, then are then clearly in full-blown "Suck 4 Luck" mode.