Kyle Orton Released by Denver Broncos; Chicago Bears Interested

In a move that could potentially save the team $2.5 million in salary this season, the Denver Broncos released veteran quarterback Kyle Orton on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“I would like to thank Kyle for all his work with the Denver Broncos,” Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said in a statement released by the team. “In the three years that he’s been here, he’s been an absolute pro. We thought it was best for the Broncos at this time as well as for Kyle to catch on with a different team.”

Orton, who has 66 career starts with a 33-33 win/loss record, began the season as Denver’s starting QB but was replaced by Tim Tebow during a week 5 lost to the San Diego Chargers.

Following news of Orton’s release, a league source confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that the Chicago Bears – who just lost starting QB Jay Cutler to a fractured thumb – are extremely interested in re-acquiring their former quarterback.

Orton was drafted in 2005 by the Bears and was a two-year starter there before he was traded – along with multiple future draft picks) in 2009 to the Broncos for Cutler and a fifth round pick.

Besides Chicago, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans may also be in the market for a quarterback as both teams recently lost their starters to injuries.

If no team claims him from the waiver wire, Orton, who was nearly traded to the Dolphins after the lockout, is currently slated for free agency in 2012.

“I spoke with Kyle earlier today and thanked him for everything he did for the Broncos,” Broncos coach John Fox said in a statement. “He was a true professional throughout this season. I’ve got a great deal of respect for him as both a player and as a person.

“This was the right decision for our football team. We feel good about our quarterback group, and this gives Kyle an opportunity to help another team and showcase his talents.”

Image & Source: USA Today