Chiefs claim Orton from Broncos; 'Boys, Bears eyed QB, too

The Kyle Orton waiver-wire sweepstakes is over.

The Kansas City Chiefs were awarded the quarterback off waivers from the AFC West rival Denver Broncos on Wednesday, the team confirmed hours after a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora about the move.

The Chiefs (4-6) were ninth in the NFL's waiver order, and the addition of Orton gives the team a veteran option alongside current starter Tyler Palko, who threw three interceptions in Monday night's loss to the New England Patriots.

Instant Debate: Good move by K.C.?

The Chiefs claimed former Broncos QB Kyle Orton on Wednesday, and analysts had mixed reactions to the move.

"We have consistently communicated that we are always looking to create competition and depth within our team," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said, according to The Associated Press. "We feel adding Kyle to our roster reinforces that goal, and we look forward to having him as a member of the Chiefs."

Palko started against the Patriots shortly after the Chiefs announced regular starter Matt Cassel was out for the season because of a right hand injury. Cassel injured his throwing hand during a Week 10 loss to the Broncos and underwent surgery last week to repair the damage.

Even if Orton doesn't take Palko's place as the starter, he could pay dividends in Week 17. That's when the Chiefs face the Broncos, whose offense Orton could reveal to his new team.

"Obviously he knows it pretty well, so he could probably give away a few things," said Tim Tebow, who replaced Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback in Week 7 and has won four of five games. "But I think we'll be OK."

"Obviously, we didn't want to help anybody within our division," Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said on KOA-AM. "It was a calculated risk we took and knew that it might be a possibility. But where we are at the quarterback position, we felt good about the group we have with Tim and Brady (Quinn) and Adam Weber. Kyle's been a pro through the whole thing. We just thought we'd also give him an opportunity to hook on somewhere."

The Chiefs will be responsible for approximately $2.5 million remaining on Orton's nearly $8.9 million salary this season, but they had plenty of space under the cap to make the move. Orton can become a free agent after this season.

The Chiefs waived wide receiver Keary Colbert, who surprisingly earned a job out of training camp after spending three years away from the NFL, to make roster room for Orton.

Kansas City wasn't the only team to pursue Orton, who passed for 3,000-plus yards in each of his first two seasons in Denver.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that the Bears (7-3), who were 30th in the waiver order, would put in a claim on Orton, whom they traded to the Broncos in 2009 for Jay Cutler. Minutes after word broke that the Chiefs had landed Orton, the Bearsannounced they had agreed to terms with quarterback Josh McCown to back up Caleb Hanie, who's now the starter with Cutler nursing a broken thumb.

The Cowboys also put in a claim for Orton, according to the team's official website. Jon Kitna will miss his second consecutive game because of a back injury, making Stephen McGee the backup to starting quarterback Tony Romo.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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