Donovan McNabb and the Denver Broncos: What do trade talks mean for Kyle Orton?

Donovan McNabb: Want him in orange or not?
Donovan McNabb: Want him in orange or not?

If you think the Broncos' quarterback situation is stable, think again. This weekend, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported that Denver's had multiple conversations with the Philadelphia Eagles about the availability of QB Donovan McNabb.

Is a deal likely to be reached between these two teams for a player as high profile as McNabb? Survey says unlikely -- although this time last year, most observers would have bet money on a bromance developing between Jay Cutler and Josh McDaniels. But even if nothing happens, there's little doubt that the continuing search isn't good news for Kyle Orton.

The assumption on the part of many fans is that the team would look for a new quarterback to groom and keep Orton around in a caretaker role. But McNabb is hardly a fresh-faced rookie. He's 33, with a decade-plus in the league under his belt, not to mention a history of injuries that have spawned oodles of criticism -- much of it undeserved, but still.

Given McNabb's age, however, he'd only make sense for the Broncos as someone to keep the center's butt warm for a younger quarterback -- suggesting that McDaniels and company aren't even confident Orton can handle a gap-filling role.

That's a long fall for KO from October of last year, when plenty of folks were comparing him favorably to Cutler, in part because of his unexpectedly healthy winning percentage. That's what losing six of the season's last eight games can do to a reputation.

Even if a McNabb deal doesn't happen, Orton shouldn't get comfortable -- because Coach McD appears to be in a shopping-around mood.


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