La Canfora: Trading Orton risky for Broncos

On the topic of naming a starting quarterback for the Broncos, the company line for John Elway, Brian Xanders and John Fox during most of the offseason has been this: “We’ll throw the ball out there and let them all compete.”

The “them” involved is Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and, of course, Tim Tebow.

Xanders wouldn’t commit to one of the quarterbacks during an interview on NFL Network Tuesday, a stance that has seemed to soften since Fox pledged Orton was the starter at the Combine. It’s all led to plenty of Orton trade chatter, including reported interest from one suitor that makes plenty of sense — the Arizona Cardinals.

Put NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on the list of those who think such a trade might not be the best move for the Broncos, and certainly isn’t a lock in the first place.

“Trading Orton would be very risky,” La Canfora said during his weekly chat. “He’s a winning quarterback and, at best, you get a second-round pick for him in all probability. That’s another trade I’m not sure actually happens.”

In the larger context, the Broncos’ public ambiguity over Orton doesn’t hurt his trade value once player transactions are allowed. If the Broncos do move forward with Tebow, it would be plausible that Orton, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following next season, is available for the right price.

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