Why I Love Cutler-To-Bears Trade
I've taken time to check out many message boards and comments sections across the internet. What I'm finding, for the most part, is that fans of teams other than the Bears think this is a terrible deal. Their "evidence," though, is usually incredibly flawed. Here are some of the reasons people think the deal is poor for the Bears, followed by my rebuttals.
The Bears have always been a running-and-defense team.
What a lame argument. A franchise isn't allowed to go out and try to evolve with the game? The Bears have to stick with the grind-it-out running game because that's what the Monsters of the Midway are supposed to be. According to whom? And why can't they have a good running game, good defense, and a stud quarterback?
Plus, has anyone ever considered how much easier it is to put together a running game than passing? There aren't a lot of quarterbacks out there with the ability to truly lead a pass-heavy offense. Cutler has proven he can do that. The Bears have relied upon the run for the past 20 years, in part, because their quarterbacks have sucked. Has anyone considered that?
Finally, won't Matt Forte, Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris, Brian Urlacher et al be a sight for sore eyes when Cutler reminisces about the junk the Broncos have been providing him under the guise of running and defense?
Cutler won't be able to throw in the cold weather.
I must have forgotten Denver is a warm weather city. In fact, check out the average temperatures by month in Denver and Chicago. Looks a bit similar, no?
I know, Chicago is the Windy City, and Cutler hasn't had to deal with a ton of wind in Denver just yet. Of course, the average wind through the football season months is only 2-3 miles per hour more in Chicago than Denver. Is that really what we're basing all these fallacies upon? Two MPH more is gonna make Cutler's deep pass turn into Kyle Orton's? Get real.
The Bears don't have any receivers.
It's tough to argue this point. The receivers haven't proven anything yet. Then again, have they really had a chance? I can't count the number of times receivers had the coverage beat last season and were severely under or overthrown by Orton. Did anyone watch that Thursday night game against New Orleans? Devin Hester could have had 200 yards and three touchdowns with Jay Cutler. Instead, he did draw a few pass interference calls. Yipee.
There are other things that shouldn't be discounted. Sometimes -- if not all the time -- quarterbacks make receivers. Have you seen Marvin Harrison's numbers before Peyton Manning arrived? How about Randy Moss when he was exiled in Oakland? Were Brandon Marshall (4th round draft pick) and Eddie Royal (2nd round draft pick) really star-quality, or did Cutler make them look the part? If they were star quality, why weren't they first round picks? They weren't hyped until he started getting them the deep ball. It's very possible Cutler made those guys. At the very least, he had a hand in their success.
The Bears do have one of the most explosive players in the league, in Hester. He can be a legitimate deep threat in this league. There is obviously still lots of work that needs to be done, but the transition will be much easier when he's not running 50 yard wind-sprints for nothing every time his number is called.
Earl Bennett was a third round draft pick this past year. He didn't really see the field much his rookie year, but it was only one season. Plus, he caught 79 passes for 876 yards and 9 touchdowns his sophomore year from Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt. They obviously already have a personal rapport, which is very important for a quarterback-receiver relationship.
From there, the cupboard is pretty empty, but all hope is not lost. The Bears still have enough cap room to add someone -- Cutler's cap number is lower than Orton's and they began the offseason with more than $20 million in cap space. They still have a second round draft pick where it's possible Brian Robiskie falls.
Finally, not having studly receivers is hardly a reason to not get a better quarterback -- the most important position in the sport.
Kyle Orton was better for the team.
There really is not much one can do to prove either side of this argument. Personally, I don't see how you could possibly argue Orton is a better quarterback than Cutler. I believe we'll see the results this season, when Orton makes Marshall and Royal look pedestrian while Hester and Bennett grow substantially. But again, that can't be proven just yet.
I love it when people say the Bears are ball control and Cutler's too mistake-prone. You see, Cutler threw 18 picks last season and Orton threw only 12. Using those stats, however, is incredibly misleading. Cutler attempted 151 more passes than Orton. So Orton threw one pick every 39 attempts and Cutler threw one every 34. There's a difference, but not enough of one to negate the superior stats in every other category for Cutler. Plus, Cutler was watching his defense allow 28 points a game. I can excuse a few mistakes while he tries to overcompensate for his atrocious defense.
They gave up too much.
Most of the people saying this haven't had to root for a team with abysmal quarterback play for the past 20 years. They also don't root for a team who drafts so poorly in the first round.
Here is Jerry Angelo's first round history for the Bears: David Terrell, Marc Colombo, Rex Grossman, Michael Haynes, Tommie Harris, Cedric Benson, Greg Olsen and Chris Williams. I count four busts, two good players (Olsen and Harris), and one we still don't know about -- Williams, though it's not looking like full value from where he was picked.
Add that track record to the fact that any player at a positional need who would be left on the board at pick 18 this season, and that was a recipe for disaster. All Bears fans are nodding right now. Angelo was going to waste that pick, and some money in the process. You might reply that if he's so bad at drafting the first round he shouldn't have that job. Well, I totally agree, but we've gotta play with the hand we've been dealt as fans.
The first round pick for next season could certainly hurt, but it's pretty unknown at this point. Remember, there is never a sure thing in the draft. There were a bevy of highly respected professionals who thought Ryan Leaf would be better than Peyton Manning. I'll take the proven over an anonymous future draft pick.
Also, you know where Angelo does excel? Drafting defensive players after the first round. Kevin Payne (5), Corey Graham (5), Danieal Manning (2), Dusty Dvoracek (3), Mark Anderson (5), Nathan Vasher (4), Charles Tillman (2), Lance Briggs (3) and Alex Brown (4) are among his finds. He can still do that these next two years. In a few weeks, he'll have second, fourth, fifth and sixth round picks. In 2010, he'll have all but a first-rounder.
Finally, if the Bears really did overpay -- and time will tell, you can't seriously judge that in the present -- I'm fine with it. I'll give five first-rounders with the chance Cutler can erase the memories of Steve Walsh, Dave Krieg, Shane Matthews, Steve Stenstrom, Rick Mirer (a top-two draft pick, by the way, draft pick-lovers), Moses Moreno, Cade McNown (another one of those first-rounders), Jim Miller, Chris Chandler, Kordell Stewart, Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton and Brian Griese. Where it wasn't serviceable (as, admittedly, Orton has been), it was flat-out embarrassing -- with no exceptions.
The best Bears quarterback, statistically, since Jim McMahon was Erik Kramer. That's 20 years, people. Who was the best quarterback on your favorite team in the past 20 years? I bet he was better than Kramer -- and he only started 41 games for the Bears.
Finally, had Cutler compiled his statistical lines the past three seasons on the Bears, he'd be the best quarterback in the history of the franchise in terms of completion percentage and quarterback rating. Seriously.
It's pretty simple, something drastic had to be done to reverse the fortunes of the franchise with this position.
Cutler is a whiny baby.
I won't argue that his actions over the course of the past two months have been immature and made him appear a prima donna. I've even written before that he comes across as an arrogant baby.
Let's just think about a scenario, though. Let's say you are one of the best at your job -- remember, Cutler threw for over 4,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl. All of a sudden, you get a new boss and you hear his first order of business is to replace you with someone you deem inferior. Wouldn't you start looking for a new job? Wouldn't you feel disdain toward your new boss? Now, remember how you felt about things when you were 25 years-old.
Obviously, you wouldn't go public and refuse to answer phone calls from the owner. I get that. I also understand that none of us are professional athletes. We don't have our every move followed and published for all to see.
With this in mind, I can forgive Cutler for his actions with this mess, now that it is behind him. He now has a clean slate, and we'll see if he's ready to step up to the challenge. He deserves that much from all of us. It's also worth noting that Cutler's former teammates seemed to have liked him as both a player and a person.
You know what's funny? I've seen a lot more commenters saying that Michael Vick has a "right to earn a living" than commenters who have defended Cutler. Um, wanting a trade because you feel betrayed doesn't deserve forgiveness, but torturing animals does? Please explain.
Cutler has a losing record and hasn't been to the playoffs.
This is by far the most absurd argument of the bunch. By this logic, why is Rex Grossman gone? He went 13-3 in his only full season as starter and took the Bears to a Super Bowl. If you want to argue that the defense and special teams carried him, I'm going to have to hear back why you can talk about defense helping a quarterback but not hurting him. Again, Cutler's defense in Denver was pathetic. Only the Lions were worse last season. I'd argue the Broncos wouldn't have won more than three games without Cutler.
Plus, there is this: When the Broncos gave up more than 20 points in Cutler's tenure, he was 8-19. When they allowed 20 points or less? He was 9-1.
I don't even know why I bothered with that above nugget, because judging any individual athlete in football based upon wins and losses is archaic. We need to evolve and be better than that. As fans, writers, broadcasters, coaches, general managers, and players, I'm asking everyone to be better than just looking at wins and losses when trying to evaluate an individual player. As I said above, Grossman went 13-3 and took a team to the Super Bowl in his only full season as a starter, yet he's unemployed. Kyle Orton has a career 21-12 record. Are you going to sit there and tell me both are better quarterbacks than Aaron Rodgers (6-10 record) or Matt Schaub (10-14 record)?
As far as the playoffs, Brett Favre went through four seasons and 45 career starts without a playoff berth. How did his career turn out? (I'm not comparing Cutler and Favre, I'm just establishing how off-base it is to try and nail Cutler for missing the playoffs through two full seasons as a starter)
Too many circumstances go into wins and losses and the playoffs to simply pin them on one player. Quarterback is the most important position in football, but it's most certainly not the only one.
Look, I'm not saying this makes the Bears an instant Super Bowl contender. It doesn't -- not yet at least. They have, however, locked down a quality player at the most important position for the next 10 years. The last pro-bowl quarterback in Chicago was Jim McMahon, and you could argue he only went due to his supporting cast.
And I'll tell you what, if you want to bet that Kyle Orton ends up with a better career than Jay Cutler, well, you know where to find me.