By Brady Henderson
If the Seattle Seahawks can’t re-sign Matt Hasselbeck and opt not to take a quarterback with the 25th pick in April’s draft, John Clayton thinks Kyle Orton would be a nice third option.
Clayton said Orton, who will be owed roughly $9 million with $5.5 million guaranteed in the final year of his contract, could possibly be acquired from Denver for a second-round pick.
“He’s probably the most affordable quarterback who can come in here and do some things,” Clayton said in Monday’s Cold Hard Facts.
Orton threw for over 3,600 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions for the Broncos in 2010 but was injured late in the season and supplanted by rookie Tim Tebow for the final three games.
Denver’s chief football executive John Elway said last month that the Broncos and their new coaching staff aren’t planning to trade Tebow. That means the 28-year-old Orton, who signed a one-year extension last summer that runs through the 2011 season, could be traded instead.
“Don’t know, to be honest with you,” Orton recently told The Denver Post about his future with the Broncos, adding in the same article that he hasn’t had any significant communication with new coach John Fox.
Since entering the league in 2005, Orton has a 58.1 percent completion rate, 71 touchdowns and 48 interceptions in 62 regular-season games.
“I still think Priority No. 1 is get Matt Hasselbeck because you can argue that he is as good as or better than Kyle Orton,” Clayton said. “Orton is pretty good. Orton, I think at this stage is somewhere in that group of maybe 15-to-16 as far as quarterbacks in the league. You can win some games with him, there’s no question about that.
“But also too, that’s not going to get you very far in the long run. You still need that young quarterback to develop to be the eventual replacement for Orton and Matt Hasselbeck.”
Hasselbeck has said on several occasions that he would prefer to finish his career in Seattle. Pete Carroll called re-signing Hasselbeck the Seahawks’ top priority, but added that doing so wouldn’t preclude the team form drafting a quarterback in the first round.