Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Good Riddance Cutler!

Posted by mizzou1028 on April 3, 2009

The deal is done.  Jay Cutler is now a Chicago Bear, traded for two first round picks, a third round pick and Kyle Orton.  While a large part of me is still disappointed that the Broncos are trading away a 25 year old franchise quarterback with a rocket arm, the other, increasingly larger part is surprisingly ecstatic with the haul the Broncos have gotten in return for Cutler.  The two first round picks alone are a hefty price to pay, but throwing in a third, and an established starting QB (albeit one who is not a Pro Bowler and one who does not have the raw talent of Cutler) means the Broncos might have actually gotten away with highway robbery.  Consider that the Chiefs only surrendered a second round choice for Matt Cassel (and got Mike Vrabel in the deal as well) and it really seems the Broncos might have made out like bandits here.

I’ll admit it will take a lot of getting used to Kyle Orton perhaps now being my favorite team’s starting quarterback.  I’ll admit that I have not necessarily been Orton’s biggest fan, but then again I don’t get very many Bears games out here so I can really count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually watched him play with a close eye.  I was surprised to realize that he actually threw for over 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Bears last season.  This while he was playing behind a very mediocre offensive line and not having prime weapons to throw to.  I am optimistic then that he will greatly benefit playing behind the Broncos’ offensive line that gave up one of the lowest sack totals in the NFL last year.  He will also benefit from having Brandon Marshall (if he’s not suspended too long), Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler.  It also seems that Orton was actually what sold the deal for the Broncos, that Josh McDaniels really has wanted him since he decided to really try to trade Cutler.  I actually have confidence that Orton will be a good fit in McDaniels’ system because he is a guy that seems to be smart and able to make good decisions on the field.  Regardless, it should be an interesting battle between Orton and Chris Simms (and perhaps a rookie?) for the starting quarterback job.

The draft pick haul from the Bears will really allow the Broncos a lot of draft flexibility.  Denver now has two of the top 20 picks in the draft, which they can use to get some much needed defensive help, or perhaps they could hope that Mark Sanchez falls.  They also have an extra third round pick, which gives them the option of adding another player or packaging several picks if they are interested in moving up on the board.  The extra first round pick in 2010 is also a really nice bonus in this deal for the Broncos, since they will also have two first round picks in that draft.  The extra picks do in a way make this draft even more important for the Broncos, for they do need to get some young blood especially on defense.  If the Broncos can draft well this year and next, the deal for Cutler could end up looking very good indeed in a few years.

The Bears of course have to be ecstatic to get Cutler, for they really haven’t had a top tier quarterback since Jim McMahon, and you might even have to go back to the days of Sid Luckman.  I think it is fair to ask from a Chicago perspective if they paid too much though to get him.  Three high draft choices and a serviceable quarterback is a pretty high price to pay for a quarterback with a career record under .500 who has shown tendencies to fold under pressure both on and off the field.  Now Cutler obviously has more talent than Orton, I’m not about to try to dispute that.  From a pure talent standpoint Cutler is a clear top 10 QB and probably right on the border for top 5.  I was among those that was really upset that the Broncos were trying to deal him in the first place.  I think it is fair though to look at Cutler’s behavior since Mike Shanahan’s firing and wonder if he really has what it takes to lead an NFL team.  Cutler is clearly trying to save face by claiming that McDaniels and Pat Bowlen never tried to call him, and his comments to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazier that he never wanted to be traded really ring hallow.  Rumor has it (from someone who saw Cutler at the UFC fight in Nashville where he talked to Glazier) that Cutler is roughly 20 pounds overweight and may not have even been working out for several weeks.  If that is true, than it begs the question of Cutler’s true commitment to be successful.  

I think Cutler still has an opportunity to get things together, but it is not by any means a sure thing.  A new start could be good for him, and perhaps the change of scenery will give him perspective over the long haul.  Cutler grew up in rural Indiana rooting for the Bears, so he has to be happy with where he ended up from that standpoint.  It is conceivable that he figures things out and leads the Bears to numerous playoffs appearances and maybe even a Super Bowl or two.  It is also equally conceivable that he doesn’t figure it out, continues to post good numbers, but can’t quite figure out how to win games in the clutch or handle things when they start to go wrong.  I have a feeling that he might end up missing Ryan Clady and the rest of the Broncos O-line by November, and that he might find things more difficult without great receivers.  It in undeniable that many of Cutler’s turnovers last season came when he was getting frustrated and was trying to force things.  The fact that he only talked to the media after wins is another indicator of not handling pressure well.  The demanding Bears fans also won’t make things easy for him if he gets off to a slow start.  Cutler will have to ultimately prove he can handle pressure if he wants to truly be a great quarterback.

Time will tell who got the better of this deal, but I am actually pleased with Denver’s haul of three high draft picks and Orton.  Regardless, it will be either be Cutler or McDaniels who gets the last laugh in the end.  It’ll probably be at least two seasons and probably more before we know for sure, for it remains to be seen how the Broncos use the draft picks and whether they develop into great players.  It also remains to be seen whether Orton has success in Denver and whether Cutler gets things together in Chicago.  One thing I know for sure: I will be tuned in on Aug. 30.  That is a preseason game between the Bears and Broncos, at Invesco Field at Mile High to boot.  It is fitting that NBC had previously selected this preseason game for a national telecast, for it will undoubtedly be the most anticipated preseason game in Broncos history.  You don’t think Cutler will get booed by the Broncos faithful do you?  Let’s just say that seats behind the visiting sideline will likely fetch big bucks that night.

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One Response to “Good Riddance Cutler!”

  1. Doug Baker said

    Denver certainly made out good with draft picks, but instead of going foward this year, they are likely to take a step or two backward. There are too few elite QBs in the NFL, and Denver just lost one of them.

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