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Kyle Orton trade: Is the Broncos quarterback bound for the Miami Dolphins?

With the four-months-plus NFL lockout finally, blessedly over, the Denver Broncos can finally stop pretending that Kyle Orton isn't on the trade block. In May, we noted that Orton was coveted by the Miami Dolphins. Two months later, reports from Florida confirm nothing has changed. The main question now: Will the Dolphins offer enough?

"Dolphins' First Hope is Kyle Orton," by Sun-Sentinel columnist Dan Hyde, lays out Miami's wishes, and challenges, in simple terms. An excerpt:

The first Dolphins call will be to Denver to survey the cost for Orton, according to a source. But the first question isn't about that cost.

The first question is whether the phone line will be busy. Assuming Matt Hasselbeck is headed to Tennessee, as football people think, Orton is the only starting-caliber quarterback in a pig-ugly lot of available quarterbacks today.

Arizona, Seattle, Washington and the Dolphins might be dialing Orton's number at the same time.

Not that Hyde is over-the-moon about Orton's skills. He concludes that KO is an average talent, as well as an unproven one, thanks to a lack of playoff wins, among other things. Moreover, the second-round pick the Broncos would likely demand in exchange for peddling Orton is "not cheap," in Hyde's view.

But he isn't knocked out by the Dolphins' QB alternatives, either. Hyde calls Vince Young a talented wild card who "needs to be checked out to see who he really is" -- an ominous statement if ever there was one. He's even less enthusiastic about Donovan McNabb ("Please don't make us witness the end of a classy career," he pleads) and Marc Bulger, who's no longer a starting-caliber player in his estimation.

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Of course, the jury's also out on Tim Tebow, who would jump to first-team status if Orton hits the road. (Does anyone really give Brady Quinn a chance in this particular derby? Anyone?) But new coach John Fox would face a fan mutiny if Tebow spent the lion's share of another season watching Orton from the bench. No wonder the team's off-season insistence that Orton remained number one on its depth chart generated so much disbelief. Now, the truth is out -- and in the current scenario, it's all but impossible to imagine that Orton will be on the roster when the regular season gets underway.

And the Dolphins are his most likely destination.

More from our Sports archive: "Kyle Orton's obviously out as Denver QB -- so why won't the Broncos admit it?"

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