It's made headlines today that John Elway, the leader of the Denver Broncos brain trust, has admitted being Tim Tebow's biggest fan and that the former Heisman winner has a chance of being Denver's starting quarterback this year. Elway raved about Tebow's physical abilities, and it wasn't undeserved. Tebow is a hell of a specimen, and Elway probably isn't exaggerating when he says that given time, Tebow can evolve into a very good pocket passer. With the Broncos in the thick of a rebuilding project and Tebow in need of time to develop, now is the logical time for Tebow to get his shot. But the problem is the Broncos need to figure out what they're going to do with their current starting quarterback Kyle Orton. He's not worthless. After all, he has only thrown for 7,455 yards in his two seasons with the Broncos to go with a 60% completion rate, 41 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. Could he be trade bait?
Let's not forget that there are a bunch of teams looking for QB's who wouldn't necessarily object to bringing in a veteran. After a couple of very bad years in Arizona following a Super Bowl run that fell short, Ken Wisenhunt is probably on the hot seat and needs to do what he can to drastically alter the course of his team right now. Who gives him the better chance to attain a playoff berth in 2011: Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Orton? Since Orton doesn't need to learn the ropes of the NFL like any incoming rookie would need to, I'd put all my chips down on Orton. Additionally, once a throw-in as a part of the Jay Cutler trade, Orton would certainly come at a much less steep cost than Kevin Kolb, another veteran quarterback who is likely available. With rumors that Kolb has been shopped for first round draft picks, Orton resembles the best option on the QB trade market because he'd be the cheapest guy to obtain if you're looking for someone with any semblance of a track record.
There hasn't been any rumor of a trade in the works, but going forward, keep an eye on the situation. It's pretty clear that Tebow is "the guy" going forward for Denver, and with a bunch of holes to fill on their roster, mostly on defense, the Broncos may be able to use Orton as a trade chip to fill in one of those holes. Or, he could waste away as a mentor to Tebow. Either way he should keep making himself useful to the Broncos, though they need to make a decision soon on whether his biggest impact to the team would be as Tebow's mentor or as a trade chip. Since Tebow is a very spiritual, mature person, I think the Broncos would be best off trading their starting quarterback. It's time for Tebow to start learning through experience, and while they probably won't net a first round pick, they can probably get some desperate team to overpay for a quarterback who can come in and bring serviceable play right away.