Wow. THAT just happened. You've surely heard about the details of the Jay Cutler trade by now(like if you read the post before this), but I'm going to get into this from a Chicago Bears fan's perspective, a Chicago Bears fan who just so happens to live in Colorado right in the heart of Broncosland.
The Bears today acquired a quarterback that immediately is their most talented in franchise history. Laugh if you want, but it's the truth. Since 1920, we've never seen a quarterback that can do the things Jay Cutler can. He's the single most talented quarterback in the NFL. He can make every throw on the field and has very underrated mobility. He's not going to beat you with his legs, but can roll out on the run and fire a pass 30 yards on a line. His pass to Eddie Royal in the 2008 season-opener at Oakland is a great example of that.
He has a bit of Favre in him though, no question, and that's what prevents him from entering the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning elite level of quarterbacks. He likes to show off his arm sometimes and makes ill-advised throws that will frequently result in interceptions and "What was he thinking?" reactions from the fans. His leadership qualities are also questionable. However, the good far outweighs the bad with him. He's just 25 years old, already has a Pro Bowl under his belt, and has thrown for 9024 yards in just three seasons.
Yes, he had outstanding weapons in Denver such as Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to throw to. He won't have that in Chicago. Devin Hester steadily improved last year and looks like he can be a good #2 receiver, but he's certainly not a #1 and may never be that. One thing he is good at though is using his speed for the deep ball, something Kyle Orton couldn't get to him. Cutler can throw that better than anybody in the league and is going to get the most out of Hester's talent.
The Bears also have Earl Bennett at wide receiver who saw very little time on the field in 2008 as a rookie, but set the SEC record for receiving in just three seasons at Vanderbilt, one of those seasons with Cutler at quarterback. That was Bennett's freshman year, and he had 79 catches and 9 touchdowns.
Greg Olsen's a tight end that can set up out wide as he has great speed, and Cutler will be able to use his talents more than Orton could. There's also second-year running back Matt Forte and this should open up plenty more running lanes for him with a quarterback that will open up the offense.
I'm also watching general manager Jerry Angelo's conference call live on television right now and he sounds intent on addressing the receiver position. Expect them to use their second round pick now on a wide receiver such as Brian Robiskie from Ohio State, and/or sign a veteran like Torry Holt now.
Look, say what you want about the lack of weapons, but quarterbacks are what win in this league. Quarterbacks make wide receivers good. Good quarterbacks open up things for the running game. Aside from Rex Grossman's 2006 season, I don't remember a time when the opposing defense didn't absolutely stack the line to prevent the Bears' running game and conservative "manage the game" passing game. They can't do that now.
Additionally, this is where Cutler wants to be. Cutler grew up a Bears fan in Indiana and I doubt there's going to be the drama with this guy that we've seen this offseason. Let's also remember that this all started with Broncos new head coach Josh McDaniels. I'd be pretty darn furious too if a new coach came in and discussed trading me after I'm coming off a Pro Bowl season at the age of 25 with all the talent in the world.
Now, for all my friends out there that are Broncos fans. Listen to me: you guys got a great deal. That is of course if Cutler "had" to go, which seemed to be the case. Yes the Broncos organization handled the whole situation terribly, but with what they were backed into, this is the best possible package they could get in return.
Kyle Orton is not a bad quarterback, I'm a huge fan of his actually. He won't stretch the field but is dynamite on passes within 25 yards, and the Broncos have wide receivers that will make plays after the catch. This is a tremendous quarterback system and he'll do just fine in it. I wouldn't be surprised if he has numbers every bit as good, possibly better than Cutler's in 2009 because of the systems they're in and the players surrounding them. Kyle Orton is not going to be why the Broncos fail the next few years, it's all about the defense. Get a defense around him and he'll win you football games.
And the draft picks, two first rounders and a third rounder, that's a huge return. It's the #18 this year and they could get a quality linebacker as Poorly Acquitted suggested in the last post. Just keep building that defense. I will add in because I haven't seen it mentioned yet, that the Bears were awarded another third round pick on March 23rd, a compensatory pick at 99th overall. So that made their other third round pick expendable, and they included it in this trade. It should also be noted that Jerry Angelo's first round drafting hasn't exactly been stellar, and there's no way they were going to get a player of Cutler's talent with either of those picks, especially not at the quarterback position.
The NFC North is a division up for grabs and this move, along with the signing of seven-time Pro Bowler Orlando Pace(even if he's not what he used to be, he can still play) may have propelled the Bears to the top of the division. Like Cutler or not, you cannot deny his talent and he's going to win a lot of football games. It's so difficult to find quarterbacks of his caliber in this league and if you can get your hands on one like him at the age of 25, you can't complain at all. It doesn't matter what you give up.
After a couple disappointing seasons following a trip to the Super Bowl in January of 2007, this is by far the most excited i've been about my Chicago Bears. Bear down.
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