Having played in 12 games, completed 58.7 percent of his passes, and thrown 15 touchdown passes this season, Bears quarterback Kyle Orton could earn up to an additional $1.5 million for next season. Orton has four $375,000 within-reach escalators in his contract that would kick in for next season.
Orton would receive an additional $375,000 if he accomplishes any of the following:
- Plays in 66 percent of the Bears offensive plays (a given by now).
- Plays in 75 percent of the Bears plays and postseason participation (possible).
- Plays in 75 percent of the plays and completes 60 percent of his passes (awfully close).
- Plays in 75 percent of the plays and throws 20 touchdown passes (he needs five in the Bears final three games).
But the real money Orton is playing for is in the long-term extension he could sign with the Bears. Orton has played well enough this season to convince some he is the Bears quarterback of the future. And the money he would make in that deal would dwarf the additional $1.5 million he could make with this season’s performance.