I know I’m getting ahead of myself; we have an entire baseball season to get through first, after all.  But things in the NFC North certainly got a lot more interesting today with the Chicago Bears acquisition of quarterback Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos.  To acquire Cutler, the Bears gave up their current quarterback, Kyle Orton, plus first and third round picks in this year’s NFL draft in addition to their first round pick in 2010.

Cutler is a talented player coming off a Pro Bowl season.  But before anyone goes conceding the division to the Bears, there are a few things to consider.  First, while Cutler put up big numbers in Denver, his won-lost record as a starting QB is a pedestrian 17-20.  For perspective consider that  Orton had a 21-12 record for the Bears.  Granted, Denver’s anemic defense had a lot to do with that.  But it’s important to remember that Cutler won’t have the same level of talent around him in the Bears offense, particularly in the receiving corps.

There is also the matter of how Cutler will fit into the Bears game plan and locker room.  For all his deficiencies, Orton was often an efficient QB who made relatively few mistakes.  The Bears have long been a team that’s relied on it’s defense to win, putting a premium on ball security when they’re on offense.  Cutler tends to be more of a gunslinger type of quarterback, taking chances on plays that put the ball at risk.  The team will have to mesh their offensive philosophy with Cutler’s abilities.

Another concern for the Bears should be Cutler’s perceived lack of maturity.  Trading a young and talented pro bowl quarterback isn’t done capriciously.  Right or wrong, the Broncos obviously had their reasons for pursuing Matt Cassel of the Patriots and ultimately deciding to trade Cutler.  The name I heard often this week in discussing Cutler was ‘retired’ QB Jeff George.  George was a player who also put up big numbers but usually wore out his welcome in a short time because he lacked the leadership intangibles that a winning NFL quarterback must possess.   For their sake, the Bears had better hope that’s not a valid comparison.

The history of giving up multiple high draft picks for one player in the NFL isn’t exactly sparkling.  The trades of Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams, and John Hadl come immediately to mind.  If Cutler doesn’t turn out to have the impact that Chicago anticipates, they will likely have consigned themselves to the scrap heap for the foreseeable future.


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  • http://pocketdoppler.com Gary

    I see this as a good move for the Bears and Broncos. From the Broncos standpoint, they got rid of someone who did’nt want to be their, a serviceable quarterback, and picks to help that horrendous defense.
    For the Bears, they have their most talented quarterback since Jim McMahon. This was a position we perceived when playing the Bears, as a position of weakness for them. Secondly, giving up high picks is’nt aguarantee that you’re giving up pro bowl players. We know this, personaly fromn watching the Packers No. 1 picks.

    • http://mike Mike

      We shall see. But from reading the coverage in the Chicago Tribune, it’s apparent that the move isn’t unanimously accepted even in Chicago.

  • Chris

    I agree that this move is good for both teams and should not be welcomed news for Packers fans. But, to me, all of that is months away. I am not going to worry about this stuff until the situation for the Brewers is hopeless. In other words, about the time the Packers exhibition games start.