Orton Extended for One More Year

The Chicago Bears continue to show confidence in their core players, although not many NFL experts figured that confidence would carry over to the quarterback position. Kyle Orton, who won two of his three starts to close out the 2007 season, has agreed to terms on a one-year contract extension.

Per the Chicago Bears:

LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears agreed to terms on a one-year extension with QB Kyle Orton today. The deal extends Orton's contract through the 2009 season.

Orton has started 18 games in three seasons with Chicago compiling a 12-6 (.667) record, the fourth-highest winning percentage among Bears starting quarterbacks since 1961 (minimum 16 starts). For his career, Orton has completed 233 of 448 passing attempts for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 62.2 passer rating. Starting the final three contests of the 2007 season, Orton was 43 of 80 passing for 478 yards with three scoring strikes and two interceptions while being sacked just twice for a 73.9 passer rating.

JC's Take: With Rex Grossman inking a one-year contract of his own Saturday, it appears that the Bears will finally have an open competition for the starting job in training camp.

Grossman may still be the organization's golden boy despite a tumultuous five-year tenure in the Windy City, but Orton won 10 games as a rookie in 2005 and played relatively well this past season after a near two-year layoff. While Grossman has had trouble shedding his gunslinger mentality at times during his career, Orton seems content to be a game-manager so long as he emerges victorious. Keeping Brian Griese makes little sense at this point, since both Grossman and Orton are experienced and have solid winning percentages.

The Bears will still need a No. 3 to carry a clipboard in 2008, so look for the team to draft another quarterback as opposed to signing a veteran from a relatively weak class of free agents.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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