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Conflicting reports emerge on whether Orton-to-Miami deal is dead

Kyle Orton

Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton stretches during NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo., on Thursday, July 28, 2011.(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


Kyle Orton will line up Saturday behind center for his third straight day as the Broncos starting quarterback.

A possible trade to Miami has stalled at best. In Denver, they are saying the deal is totally dead.

“There is no chance he will be traded to the Miami Dolphins,” Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes in a terrific breakdown of how the trade talks broke down.

Klis says the teams were close to an agreement Tuesday night, but Orton started to have second thoughts. He has one year left on his contract (due to pay him $8.8 million this year) and didn’t want to delay free agency and lower his 2011 pay unless Miami gave him significant guaranteed money in a two-year deal. They balked.

“Orton decided that if he was going to play on a one-year contract, he might as well stay in Denver,” Klis writes.

The Broncos paid Orton a $1.5 million roster bonus Friday. Klis reports Orton gets $2.9 million of his base salary even if he’s cut. So the Broncos are in for $4.4 million on Orton this year no matter what. They can’t cut him now and probably don’t want to.

The more Orton practices with the first team, the harder it will be to demote him. He’s playing with teammates that like him. He’s going to have an edge in practice as a veteran. Orton essentially bet on himself and the Broncos and Dolphins were caught flat-footed. We love it.

Of course, not everyone is convinced this deal is dead.

“Despite numerous believable national and local reports that Miami’s attempt to trade for Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is over, I am told exactly the opposite is true,” Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes.

This is logical. While Orton has stood his ground and will benefit from that stance regardless, a move still makes sense for the Broncos and Dolphins. It is only late July.

“This negotiation has been a poker game and everyone is holding great cards while bluffing at the same time. It seemed like the Dolphins folded early Friday. So why has no one truly walked away from the table?” Salguero writes.

The Broncos don’t have great cards. They are conflicted about their most important position.

The Dolphins have an even worse hand. Playing the Matt Moore card Friday isn’t a solution.

Orton is holding the best hand. He’s going to get his money, hit free agency next year, and he may just get his best opportunity to succeed this year. In Denver.