ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Kyle Orton #18 of the Dallas Cowboys prepares for their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Chicago Bears have several options to choose from in their ongoing back-up quarterback battle, with Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen duking it out in training camp in Bourbonnais, but with one former Bear on the market, GM Phil Emery isn’t against opening up the competition even further.
Kyle Orton, who spent three seasons with the Bears before heading to the Denver Broncos as part of the Jay Cutler trade in 2009, recently was released by the Dallas Cowboys after two years with the team. He attempted 51 passes in three games in 2013, throwing for 398 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in relief of Tony Romo.
For now, it’s unclear as to whether or not he will continue his career or retire from the NFL, but Emery didn’t close the door completely on the idea of an Orton reunion in a recent radio interview.
“We’re extremely excited about Jay [Cutler], and we’re extremely excited about the competition we have for the backups,” he told Jeff Dickerson on ESPN 1000. “If we see a player at quarterback or any other position that can help us, we’ll certainly take a look.”
There is a fair amount of trepidation on the part of fans and media pundits about how the Bears would fare if Cutler were to go down with another injury (it has been four consecutive seasons that Cutler has missed at least one game for the team), but is bringing in a guy like Orton really the answer? Yes, he has some history with the team, and yes one could make the argument that he is a better quarterback than Clausen or Palmer, but there are two other things to consider.
First and foremost, Palmer and Clausen may not have had success in other NFL situations, but with the incredible offensive weapons this team possesses, as well as the reputation that Marc Trestman has earned as a quarterback guru, there may not be as big a drop-off as people might think. The second thing to remember is that a guy like Orton wouldn’t necessarily come with a cheap price tag, and the Bears have precious little salary cap space to play with. Bringing him in would be a good insurance policy, but with the way the team’s defense was ravaged with injuries last season, having cap room to bring in replacement players would likely be a smarter course of action.
What do you think Bears fans? Should the Bears explore an Orton reunion, or should they stick to what they have with Clausen and Palmer? Tell us in the comments section below.