Surprisingly released by the Denver Broncos Tuesday afternoon, quarterback Kyle Orton will remain a resident of the AFC West for at least the rest of the 2011 season.
Kansas City was awarded Orton off waivers on Wednesday, bringing a veteran presence to an inexperienced group of quarterbacks. Orton is currently in the final year of a two-year deal he signed with Denver in August of 2010.
The Cowboys and Bears also reportedly made claims on Orton, but the Chiefs held a higher slot in the waiver process. Waiver priority is determined based on record. Kansas City, at 4-6, held the NFL’s ninth-highest waiver position. Dallas held the 22nd position and Chicago held the 30th.
The walkthrough began prior to Orton’s addition becoming official.
“It doesn’t affect how I feel about Tyler or how our team feels about Tyler,” Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said. “I was very encouraged by Tyler in what he did.”
The Chiefs are the second AFC West team to make a midseason move to acquire an established quarterback following the loss of an Opening Day starter. The Raiders traded for longtime Bengals starter Carson Palmer days before the Chiefs visited Oakland in late October.
Palmer did not start against the Chiefs, but relieved an ineffective Kyle Boller in the third quarter of Kansas City’s 28-0 win. He’s since led the Raiders to the top of the AFC West, compiling a 2-1 record as Oakland’s starter.
Kansas City is currently two games behind the Raiders and one game behind the Broncos in a tight AFC West race.
Orton started the first five games of the 2011 season for Denver before giving way to 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow.
In total, Orton has played in 67 games (66 starts) with Chicago (2005-08) and Denver (2009-11), completing 1,225 of 2,107 passes for 13,753 yards with 79 TDs and 55 INTs.
The Chiefs play the Broncos Week 17 and square off against the Bears in Chicago on December 4th.
To complete the move, the Chiefs released WR