The list of likely candidates to claim Orton by the Wednesday deadline starts with the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom have lost their starting quarterbacks to injury. The Houston Texans fall under that category as well, but they will sign veteran backup Kellen Clemens, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora Wednesday.
A league source confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that the Bears (7-3), who are 30th in the current waiver order, will put in a claim on Orton. Backup Caleb Hanie will replace injured starter Jay Cutler for the foreseeable future, but the Bears could use a veteran like Orton, whom the team traded along with two first-round draft picks and a third-round selection to acquire Cutler from the Broncos in 2009.
Meanwhile, NFL.com's Steve Wyche reports that, according to a league source, the Chiefs are considering putting in a claim for Orton. The Chiefs put starting quarterback Matt Cassel on injured reserve Monday and got blown out by New England shortly afterwards with backup Tyler Palko under center. Kansas City coach Todd Haley said the team has discussed bringing in a veteran but remains committed to Palko as the starter and rookie Ricky Stanzi as the No. 2. Kansas City (4-6) is ninth in the waiver order.
NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi said Tuesday on "Around the League" that the Texans, who are 25th in the waiver order, would have to make roster moves in order to fit Orton's number under the salary cap. The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that the Texans weren't interested in Orton.
The team had been waiting for another opinion on Matt Schaub's foot injury, but they apparently didn't get good news. La Canfora reported that Houston placed him on injured reserve Wednesday. Matt Leinart is set to start for the Texans against the Jaguars this week. La Canfora had reported Tuesday that Clemens was one of several quarterbacks the Texans had worked out, including Chase Clement, Brodie Croyle, Trent Edwards and Jeff Garcia.
Any team claiming Orton would owe him the pro-rated portion of his $8.8 million contract, which would be around $2.58 million. If Orton goes unclaimed, the Broncos would be on the hook for his remaining salary.
Orton isn't under contract for next season and will become a free agent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.