Chiefs quarterback Kyle Orton?
This surely came as a shock to everyone in Chicago, where it was considered a cinch that the Bears would grab their former QB off waivers once starter Jay Cutler got hurt. However, the Bears got stumped in the process.
Since the Chiefs have a worse record (4-6) than the Bears (7-3), league rules dictated that when Denver released their starter of 2 12 years, Kansas City was awarded Orton and the 2.58 million tag remaining on his 2011 contract.
By the way, if the Bears were stunned at this turn of events, so was Orton.
In fact, once Tim Tebow became the people's choice in Denver, Orton fell to No. 3 on the depth chart and asked for his release specifically so he could return to the playoff-contending Bears.
Orton's agent, David Dunn, went so far as using ESPN as a vehicle to warn the Chiefs against putting in a claim for Orton.
A source close to the Chiefs claims there were heated arguments among front office people and coaches prior to the decision on claiming Orton.
It's not hard to grasp why this got all so muddled.
For starters, Orton is a six-game fix unless something changes rather drastically.
In addition to all the noise about the guy not wanting to play in Kansas City, Orton will be a free agent after this season.
So, the Chiefs essentially are paying 2.58 million to use a proven but not spectacular NFL quarterback for five games.
(You can't really count Pittsburgh this Sunday night, since Orton couldn't possibly be prepared in time for that game even if he actually reports without dawdling.)
Five games then.
If Orton were tied to a contract stretching something like, oh, three years or so, then maybe you could look at this move through rose-colored glasses and say the Chiefs have made a bold stroke to try an upgrade at their most important position.
That theory would depend on Orton taking Matt Cassel's job next year while the team continues to groom current rookie Ricky Stanzi as a long-term project.
But even that isn't the case.
Orton's contract this year was 8.9 million, and since he has a bit of winning experience with the Bears and decent numbers with Denver in 2009 and 2010 he's going to be in moderate demand.
The Chiefs have tons of money available prior to claiming Orton, they were 25 million under the salary cap but are they really going to push the boat all the way out for Kyle Orton?
Here's some irony: Orton's career numbers are eerily close to Cassel's.
Orton has made 66 career starts for Chicago and Denver, completing roughly 58 percent of his passes, throwing 79 touchdowns against 55 interceptions.
Cassel has started 54 games for New England and the Chiefs, completing 59 percent of his passes, including 76 TDs and 46 picks.
Sounds like the same individual, no?
Scouts will tell you Orton is a bit more mobile and explosive than Cassel, more likely to turn a blown play into something special.
On the other hand, Orton lost his job both in Chicago and Denver despite excellent first years in both cities, and there are players and coaches at both stops who say he's moody and less than a warm and fuzzy teammate.
So, what's he doing here?
Anyone who fancies the Chiefs somehow signing him to a long-term contract and considering him an "upgrade" who can take this team to the Promised Land is dreaming.
Can you picture Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli tossing out a huge wad of cash for a guy with a spotty reputation and pretty much an identical resume as the quarterback they've already got on the roster?
I can't, either.
More likely, if there were disagreements in the Chiefs' war room about whether or not to claim Orton, it had to do with the importance of this season's final five games.
The situation doesn't even resemble Oakland's recycling of Carson Palmer, either, since Palmer actually is a bona fide step up at QB, and the Raiders have a sensational chance to steal the wretched AFC West.
The question for the Chiefs, in other words, was all about those last five games. Period.
Three of them are long, longshots no matter who plays quarterback visits to the Jets and Bears, then the Super Bowl champion Packers at home, with the Raiders and Denver to finish up.
Apparently, there was a strong enough sentiment among the Chiefs' decision-makers based pretty much on the New England game that Tyler Palko just can't cut it in the NFL.
The argument for grabbing Orton is that you don't want your fans to feel you've given up and are settling for 4-12.
Bringing in an experienced quarterback apparently is worth almost 3 million, if the move convinces the supporter base the Chiefs are still doing everything possible to win especially since coach Todd Haley has said over and over the division is still up for grabs.
What would be funny is if the Chiefs upset Pittsburgh this week with Palko playing well, maybe even producing a game-clinching drive.
Could Haley automatically switch to an untested and possibly grumpy Orton the following week against the Jets?
In the big picture, this is just one more odd twist we can add to a very odd season in Kansas City.
I'm pretty sure the long-term fate of the Chiefs doesn't rest on the right arm of Kyle Orton.
Heck, I hope not.