[ESPN.com] ESPN is reporting that the Chiefs have claimed former Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton off waivers.
This means they now will take over his contractual rights for the remainder of this season and the Broncos are free of the $2.5 million they would have owed Orton. The Bears and Cowboys also put in a waiver claim for Orton, but the Chiefs had the higher priority under the waiver system.
The Chiefs are in desperate need of a veteran quarterback, starter Matt Cassel was injured two weeks ago against the Broncos and was placed on the injured reserve list on Monday and his backup Tyler Palko, threw three interceptions in his first start, a 34-3 loss at New England on Monday night.
Orton was released by Denver on Tuesday, six weeks after he was benched following a 1-4 start. The former Chicago Bears starter, who passed for 3,000 yards each of his first two seasons in Denver, became expendable when the Broncos opted to go with Tim Tebow as their starter.
He’s expected to report to the Chiefs on Thursday, though it’s unlikely that he’ll be up to speed in time for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Orton’s career numbers bear a striking resemblance to those of Cassel, who was hurt near the end of the Chiefs’ 17-10 loss to Denver two weeks ago. Orton’s completed about 58 percent of his passes while making 66 career starts, with 79 touchdowns and 55 interceptions.
Cassel has started 54 games, completing 59 percent of his throws with 76 TDs and 46 picks.