Should the Colts Claim Kyle Orton off Waivers?

One of the few positives that come with an 0-10 record is that the Indianapolis Colts hold the #1 waiver priority – meaning they get the first crack at any player that has recently been released.  Through 10 games, the Colts offense ranks 30th in Passing Yards, 32nd in Yards Per Attempt (YPA), 30th in Passing Touchdowns, and 31st in QB Rating. Yesterday, the Denver Broncos decided to release their Week One starting Quarterback, Kyle Orton.  While Orton hasn't won very many games over the past 2 seasons (4-14), he's put up respectable numbers: 58.8 completion %, 257 ypg, and a 28:16 TD:INT ratio.  Orton would represent a significant upgrade at the Quarterback position for the Indianapolis Colts. So, should the Colts claim him off of Waivers?  Afterall, the Colts are on the fast track to drafting Andrew Luck, and winning a few meaningless games down the stretch of 2011 could threaten the #1 overall selection in April's draft.My take:  Yes, the Colts absolutely need to pick up Kyle Orton, for a variety of reasons.  First off, the Colts offense needs a change over the final 6 weeks of the season.  With Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky under center, this offense isn't accomplishing much.  It's hard for young players like Anthony Castonzo, Delone Carter, and Donald Brown to develop their talents when the Quarterback position is performing so poorly.  Bringing in a quality QB like Orton would do wonders for this offense, and should develop some momentum heading into the offseason.  While it may not sound like much of a consolation prize for Colts fans, realize this: the Detroit Lions carried over some late 2010 success into the start of this season, and have gone from the laughing stock of the NFL (now the Colts), to a 7-3 team looking to make the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years. Secondly, claiming Kyle Orton proves to fans (and the rest of the NFL) that the Colts aren't in fact tanking their season, a.k.a. "Sucking For Luck".  It's painfully obvious that Curtis Painter is not an NFL-caliber QB, and Dan "RunOutOfTheBackOfTheEndZone" Orlovsky isn't one either.  Picking up Kyle Orton, a veteran QB, proves that the Colts are still trying to improve as a team.  Passing on him would show that the Colts' management truly doesn't care about winning a single football game in 2011.  This is an opportunity for Jim Irsay, Bill Polian, and Jim Caldwell to give back to the fans.  I think I speak for every Colts' fan when I say this:  I'm tired of watching Curtis Painter run our offense. While Kyle Orton would be an upgrade over Painter and Orlovsky, I don't believe it'd cost the Colts the #1 overall pick in April's draft.  The Colts have a 2-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, and St. Louis Rams; and a 3-game lead over the Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars.  If Orton was signed, he wouldn't start for the Colts this coming Sunday – which would realistically give him 5 starts with the team.  Given just how bad our defense has been playing, and the upcoming schedule (Carolina, @New England, @Baltimore, Tennessee, Houston,  @Jacksonville),  it's hard to imagine that the team can win more than a game or two. Lastly, and most importantly, is the flexibility that Orton would provide in 2012.  Orton is under contract through 2012, and losing him at the end of next season would likely earn a middle-round compensatory draft pick for the Colts. In the meantime, Orton could serve as the team's insurance option to Peyton Manning if Manning gets injured in 2012 (or never returns healthy).  He could serve as a mentor to Andrew Luck (or another rookie QB) if Peyton Manning retires, gets traded, or is cut.  Having at least 1 healthy, competent QB on the roster would give the Colts more leverage and flexibility in April's draft, and not force the team to draft a QB by any means necessary.  And given the uncertainty of Peyton's health, the Colts brass would be stupid not to bring in another quality QB. What would you do?

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.