The Chicago Bears acquired disgruntled Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler in a trade on Thursday afternoon, giving up quarterback Kyle Orton and first-round picks in 2009 (18th overall) and 2010, along with a third-round pick (84th overall) in 2009 to do it.
To complete the trade, the Broncos had to give back a fifth-round pick (140th overall) in 2009. That pick was acquired by the Broncos from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade for wide receiver Keary Colbert.
The Bears beat out the Redskins, Buccaneers, Lions, Titans and other teams to land the 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback. The Broncos had made it clear they were asking for at least two first-round choices.. . .
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, upon hearing that Cutler was now his teammate, was stunned by the news.
"I guess the Bears felt like we needed another quarterback, so they made a move," Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. "They gave up a lot. Cutler must be pretty good."
"I guess we got better as a team," Urlacher added, according to the newspaper. "You get a quarterback who is a Pro Bowl guy. But I will say this: I think Kyle Orton is a good quarterback. He's a great teammate. I hope he does really well in Denver."
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McDaniels couldn't acquire the quarterback he nurtured while with the New England Patriots and could never connect with the quarterback he already had in Denver. Now he gets Kyle Orton who, until injuring his ankle last season, was tracking upward. And for what it's worth, not once did you hear a negative peep out of Orton -- not during his 2008 preseason QB battle with Rex Grossman, and not during the recent chatter involving the Bears and the possibility of trading for Cutler.
And then there is Angelo, who had said all along that the quarterback position was a huge priority for the Bears. Orton was fine, perhaps better than fine. But to Angelo, Cutler is a franchise changer, a 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback whose arrival could alter the balance of power in the NFC North for years to come.
You have to give Angelo credit for taking the plunge with Cutler. It was more than bold move; it was a move that will end up in the first or second paragraph of his obituary.
There is no in-between with this deal. The Broncos just gave up a guy who passed for 4,526 yards. That same guy never led the Broncos to a playoff game, and he just threw a hissy fit for the ages, but his right arm and his age were too enticing for Angelo to ignore. So he traded the Bears' first-round future for the next two years: a No. 1 in 2009 and 2010. And a third-round pick in 2009. And Orton, who was popular in the Bears' locker room, played hurt and, for the most part, played well.
By nature, such assessments are purely subjective, governed by the many variables considered, both individually and as a sum, by the vested parties. But with the Denver Broncostrading quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago on Thursday, such a deal could be considered among the most significant in NFL history.
Certainly, the trade of Cutler would be among the most notable in the past 20 years.
"I think to call it a once-in-a-lifetime deal is probably [overstatement]," said a personnel man from one of the several franchises that bid for Cutler's services but lost him to the Bears. "But once in a generation? Yeah, probably so. It's tough enough to find a [good] backup quarterback out there. So you can see how rare it is that a guy like Cutler, somebody with his credentials, would be on the market."That's for sure.
If Jay Cutler doesn't raise red flags, Bears fans, you are color blind. From all appearances and indications, he has the maturity level of larva.
Two weeks ago, he demanded the Broncos trade him. On Wednesday, he said he had wanted to stay with the Broncos all along.
On Friday, I'm guessing he will say he's ecstatic about the Bears and deep-dish pizza.
This is exactly the kind of steely resolve you want in your huddle, isn't it?
Well, you're about to get it. The Bears on Thursday traded their first- and third-round picks this year, their first-round pick next year and Kyle Orton to the Broncos in exchange for Cutler, a 2009 fifth-round pick and a six-pack of baby formula.
The voice on the other end of the teleconference Thursday night definitely belonged to Jerry Angelo. But it sure didn't sound like the Bears general manager—or like the Bears period.
"I came to the conclusion I felt like I needed to pursue this," Angelo said of the Jay Cutler trade talks. "And I decided if we were going to get in it, we were going to get in it to win it."
That's the way NFL executives talk in Washington, Dallas and New England. But audacity always has been considered a second language at Halas Hall.
That era clearly ended when the Bears consummated the trade with the Broncos for Cutler and free-agent left tackle Orlando Pace agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal.