The analysis of the Cutler trade.
By Bill Smith
The Broncos got lucky—real lucky—in the Cutler trade. It is hard to overestimate the NFL owners’ willingness to jump at getting talent. And make no mistake about it, Cutler is talented. But a lot of that talent is not performance, it is potential. And nothing can get a coach fired faster than the P word—potential.
Part of the reason that Cutler went as high as he did was the lack of starting quality QBs available in free agency and the draft. There are a couple of competent veteran FA QBs with starting experience like Byron Leftwitch, J.P Losman, and Joey Harrington among others. So far no one has indicated a great deal of interest in any of the three.
The deal wasn’t all that one sided. The Bears gave the 09 first and third, a first in 2010 and QB Kyle Orton. They got QB Jay Cutler and the Broncos 5th pick in 2010. The first and third picks in 09 was the minimum that you would expect for a young franchise QB. Besides, the Bears received a compensatory pick at the end of the 3rd round for the free agents it lost in 08. Those picks are offset by Cutler. The inclusion of Orton is no big deal for the Bears because with Cutler starting, Orton would have been a backup at best. The only choice in question is the Bears’ 1st in 2010.
If the Bears wanted to trade up from the 18th pick to get high enough to get QB Mark Sanchez (USC), they would at least have to get to 9th pick. That would get them in front of San Francisco who would take Sanchez if he was available.
The 18th pick is worth 900 points on the NFL Draft choice trade value chart. The 9th pick is worth 1350. The Bears’ third round pick in 09 is worth 180 points. Even including the third pick, trade value to get to the 9th pick from the 18th pick in 09 (900+180) is still 270 points short. The value of the Bears 1 in 2010 is 400 points (equal to the second round in 09).
Given that, the gave a total of 130 extra points (equal to a late 3rd round in 09) to get a proven QB like Cutler rather than a rookie 1 year starter in Sanchez. Sanchez is a total unknown. Those of you that read this column frequently know I have serious doubts about Sanchez. If he is good enough to be a top 15 draft pick, why wasn’t he able to beat out John David Booty (5th round pick 137 by the Vikings) for the 3 years that they were both at USC?
Any GM in the world would trade Sanchez and a third pick for a proven QB like Cutler. Cutler has much more arm strength, makes better reads, and has proven himself against an NFL pass rush. Sanchez works hard throwing the 15 yard out from the opposite hash which is a key measure of arm strength. He also has never faced NFL pass rushers or NFL corners.
And even if Chicago make that trade to get to #9, with the luck of the Bears finding a QB, Seattle would take Sanchez at 4 and the Bears would be out of luck.
What do the Broncos do for a QB? I will have that in a future column.
I believe that new head coach of the Broncos, Josh McDaniel, was the totally wrong pick for Denver. The offense for Denver last year was in the top 10 in the league. It was the 29th ranked defense that killed the Bronco chances for the playoffs. And yet owner Pat Bowlen selected an offensive coach in McDaniel who was the offensive coordinator for New England. In the spitting contest between his HC and franchise QB, Bowlen backed McDaniel.
The Denver media reported that Bowlen said he had not been told that the GM Brian Xanders and HC were trying to deal the starting QB. Don’t believe that for a second. Had McDaniel not told Bowlen he was shopping Cutler, the Coach would be gone (along with the GM) and Cutler would still be a Bronco.
I think McDaniel has set the Broncos back 3 years even with the extra draft choices. I have always liked Orton. But Orton is at best a care-taker QB and not someone that can lead you deep into the AFC playoffs. As a Browns fan, that does not sadden me in the least. We will see which team is helped more by the trade. My bet is that Chicago is now even with the Vikings in talent to win the NFC North.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]