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Orton’s salary makes him tough for Broncos to keep

Denver Broncos v Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12: Quarterbacks Derek Anderson #3 of the Arizona Cardinals talks with Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos before the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 43-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The plan in Denver appears to be for Tim Tebow to start at quarterback, even if the Broncos won’t say it yet.

The team figures to shop Kyle Orton around for a mid-round draft pick. The expectation is that the Broncos would be happy to keep Orton if they don’t get the right price, but it’s worth considering if they can afford him.

Orton is due almost $9 million in 2011, which includes a $1.5 million roster bonus. That’s a huge total for a potential backup quarterback, and it’s even more problematic because the Broncos have a lot of money on the books.

Denver has $129 million in salary commitments, according to the Denver Post. They can cut that down by re-negotiating contracts and making cuts before attempting to accomplish quite a bit in free agency.

Tim Tebow is going to need a quality backup because of his physical style of play, but can the Broncos afford to pay so much to a guy not in the plans for 2012?

It seems to us that Orton should only be on the Week One roster at that salary if he has a legitimate chance to start.