Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 11/23/11

Quarterbacks Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler will always be connected, thanks in part to Josh McDaniels. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images and the Associated Press)

In March of 2009, former Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels tried (unsuccessfully) to trade for former New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel.  The news broke and former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler wasn’t a happy camper.  Cutler asked for a trade and Cassel ended up in Kansas City.

With Orton out of the picture, the Broncos will likely stick with Tebow for the rest of 2011, even if the team hits a few bumps in the road. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Broncos then agreed to trade Cutler and a late round draft pick to the Chicago Bears in exchange for quarterback Kyle Orton and several draft picks.

Several years and broken thumbs/hands later, Orton’s bouncing around again.  After being demoted in favor of second year quarterback Tim Tebow, Orton found himself sitting on Denver’s bench through Week 11.

When Bears quarterback Jay Cutler broke his hand last week, Orton and his agent, David Dun, asked the Broncos to waive Orton, in hopes that he could return to Chicago and help them reach the playoffs in Cutler’s absence.

The Broncos and Bears did their parts; Denver waived Orton and Chicago placed a waiver claim on him.  Then the Chiefs came into the picture.

The Chiefs had placed their starting quarterback, Matt Cassel on injured reserve on Tuesday after learning that he broke his hand against the Broncos in Week 10.  Kansas City (and the Dallas Cowboys) also placed a claim on Orton.  Since the Chiefs had the worst record of the three teams that placed a claim on Orton, they won his rights.

Kansas City now has the option to pay Orton the $1.588 million he is still owed this season, or give him a contract extension.  Interestingly, Orton and Cassel — the two players that were the reason Jay Cutler left Denver — are now on the same team.

Orton, presumably as the Chiefs starting quarterback, will return to Denver on January 1st when Kansas City plays the Broncos in what could be an important division game.  The Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos (4-6, 4-6, 5-5-), are all within two games behind the division-leading Raiders (6-4).

Three of the four AFC West teams now have a different starting quarterback than they had in Week 1.  The Raiders’ started the season with Jason Campbell.  After Campbell suffered an injury, the Raiders traded for Carson Palmer.  The Broncos started the season with Orton, before replacing him with Tebow.  The Chiefs were 4-5 before Cassel broke his hand, Orton will presumably replace him.

The Chargers are the lone team in the ‘West with the same starting quarterback they started the season with, Phillip Rivers.  With that said, Rivers has thrown seventeen interceptions this season and has a quarterback rating of 81.1.

With Orton gone, the Broncos now have a free roster spot.  The team may fill the roster by activating quarterback Adam Weber off of the practice squad.

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