Thursday, April 2, 2009

Trade Center: NFL

The Deal: The Denver Broncos send quarterback Jay Cutler and a 5th round pick to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Kyle Orton, the 18th overall pick in April's draft, a third round pick and Chicago's first round pick in 2010.

Broncos: Even with Cutler trying to force his way out of Denver, the Broncos were able to get a kings ransom for their young Pro Bowl quarterback. Denver had no choice but to move Cutler and end the media circus that has followed the team since the potential 3-way trade involving Matt Cassel became public last month. In return the Broncos received a serviceable quarterback in Kyle Orton. Though he'll never be a star and doesn't have the arm or ceiling of Cutler, Orton should be a capable replacement. Orton never had the quality receivers that Cutler had in Denver and was always part of a run-oriented offense. In Orton the Broncos have a solid starter that could have a breakout similar to Cassel's under coach Josh McDaniels. In addition to Orton the Broncos received 3 quality draft picks and will now have plenty of ammunition to trade up in the draft to select one of the top quarterbacks if they desire. If not they will be able to add three top players over the next two years to help in the Broncos playoff pursuit. The two first round picks are great value for Cutler and will allow Denver to get impact players.

Bears: Chicago last season finished 21st in the league in passing and needed to upgrade their offense. Cutler should immediately help the Bears passing attack and gives their team a player they can build their offense around. Quarterback has been a bit of a revolving door for the Bears for years, they haven't had one quarterback lead the team in passing for three or more consecutive years since, Jim Harbaugh did it in the early 90's. While Cutler will end that trend the Bears paid a hefty price to do so. Two first round picks and a third are a high price to pay to upgrade from Orton to Cutler. The Bears might be a playoff contender in the weak NFC North but will likely miss those draft picks down the road. Chicago doesn't have the talented receiving corps that Cutler had in Denver so they might not see their passing attack improve that much.

Winner: I think the Broncos are a big winner here. Yes Cutler is a very good quarterback but I think he's far from the "franchise quarterback" that everyone makes him out to be. There are 8-10 quarterbacks in the league that I'd rather have leading my team than Jay Cutler. Yes he's been to a Pro Bowl, but he hasn't led his team to the playoffs yet, even in the woeful AFC West. The Bears gave up too much for Cutler, who needs to show he's more than just a big arm quarterback. I think the Broncos with the additional picks can add the talent to surround Orton for a playoff run this season.

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